Research shows that small businesses don’t know how to properly measure social media success.
A survey of 1000 British small businesses, by Constant Contact, that SMBs are receiving successful results with Facebook marketing but many think it’s not helping their business.
A third of businesses reported that they didn’t think Facebook helped their business in any way and only a fifth said they think they are properly using Facebook to market their business.
However, Constant contact says that many businesses are using social media better than they believe.
"We were surprised to see the misconceptions that many British small businesses have about what social media marketing success looks like – especially when their own results show they are doing a fantastic job using Facebook to drive customer engagement, find new customers and generate repeat sales," said Annette Iafrate, UK managing director at Constant Contact.
Nearly a third of small business decision makers using Facebook said they didn’t know how to engage with fans but were already using a variety of engagement tactics on their Facebook pages.
More than half of businesses surveyed were posting regular updates about their products and services and almost half were engaging with fans by responding to posts on their Facebook timeline.
15% of businesses also reported asking people to like their Facebook page in order to receive vouchers and offers.
"The great news here is that British small businesses are using Engagement Marketing to their benefit without even realising it," said Iafrate. "Engagement isn’t complicated, nor does it have to be costly. Responding to fans, asking questions, and ‘Like-gating’ content or offers are all great ways to boost interaction with your fans. The best part for time-starved small businesses is that doing these things takes just a few minutes a day."
The study also revealed a misconception among businesses when measuring the success of engagement practices.
"There is a clear gap in understanding when it comes to recognising the impressive benefits social media marketing can bring – and indeed are already bringing – to small businesses across Britain," said Iafrate.
A quarter of respondents believe that Facebook success means having more than 500 shares, comments, or Likes on just one post. However, the research suggests that businesses are overestimating what is needed to achieve results.
"From talking to small businesses every day, we know that engagement typically happens in small doses and over time," said Iafrate. "When it comes to small businesses and social media marketing, small really is huge. Just one or two shares can put your content in front of hundreds of new sets of eyeballs."
Constant contact research also revealed that 66% of businesses who use Facebook do not use any form of analytics because they don’t have time or find it too complicated.
Iafrate suggests that businesses can combine Facebook with other marketing tactics in order to see clear results across the board.
Combining share buttons in marketing emails as well as asking fans to sign up to email newsletters can help businesses see more results.
"We know that small businesses have limited time to market their business, but it’s important that they think about ‘and’ rather than ‘or’," said Iafrate. "While both social media marketing and email marketing can drive great results independently, the magic really happens when you combine the two, using each tactic’s strengths to generate the biggest impact possible."
Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.