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SMBs Still Not Using Social Media Strategically: SMB Group

More small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are leveraging on social media in their business today, according to the SMB Group’s latest report, the 2012 Small and Medium Social Business Study. But many of these businesses still aren’t using social media in a planned, strategic approach, the study found.

The 2012 study results show that overall use of social media is up from 44% to 53% among small businesses (1-99 employees) and up from 52% to 63% among medium businesses (100-999 employees) year-on-year.

In addition, in 2012, 35% of SMBs using social media indicate that they actually replaced and/or displaced other tools with social media, dropping, for example, direct mail, newspapers/business trade journals/magazines, yellow pages, and email marketing.

However, most of these small and medium businesses continue to use social media in an informal, ad hoc approach as opposed to a more structured, strategic one. “The needle for SMBs using social media as part of a planned, corporate strategy has barely moved at all,” laments Sanjeev Aggarwal, SMB Group founder and partner. “More SMBs are using social media, but they lack the solutions, expertise and guidance to integrate them with other business processes and use them more effectively in their businesses.”

But the study also picks out an interesting observation – that SMBs who use social media strategically not only are generally more satisfied with using social media than ad-hoc users, they are also 1.5 to 2 times more likely to anticipate revenue growth.

Other findings from the study include:

- The top reasons that drive SMBs to adopt social media continue to center on sales and marketing goals. Only a small percentage are using social media for non-sales and marketing functions, such as human resources, customer service and product development.

- The top challenges SMBs cite to using social media more strategically are lack of time; inability to measure value, difficulty integrating social media with other business activates; and lack of budget.

- The top challenges SMBs cite to using social media more strategically are lack of time; inability to measure value, difficulty integrating social media with other business activates; and lack of budget.

- While SMB adoption of social media has been on the rise over the past year, median spending for both small and medium companies has remained the same as in 2011.


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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