Study Says Facebook is the Most Important Network for Small Businesses

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

market-researchAs the largest social network, business owners and marketers have used Facebook for years to reach and connect with potential customers. As more people and businesses joined the network, it has now become necessary for businesses to use paid promotion on the network in order to give their posts substantial reach. This had led many to wonder if there’s still a point to using Facebook. A recent study from G/O Digital found that most consumers, expect to find information about a small business via their social media page.

A study of 1,000 consumers who use Facebook reported that about three out of four (73%) survey respondents said Facebook is the most important social media platform where they expect to see a local business. Of course, these people expected to see businesses on other platforms, but few considered these other platforms to be the most important place to find information. According to the report, only 3 percent of respondents cited Twitter, 2 percent said LinkedIn and less than 1 percent mentioned Instagram. There’s certainly a value in using multiple platform, but business owners need to be sure to make management of their Facebook profile a top social media marketing priority.

When trying to use Facebook to direct traffic back to the website, using discounts and specials was cited as the most effective way for drive referral traffic. Half of the respondents (51%) said discounted offers was the greatest contributing factor toward clicking an external link on Facebook. Furthermore, a larger percentage (54%) said that discounted offers could motivate them to do things like register, sign up or shop once they reached the link.

“The road to success on Facebook is not an easy one and requires a well thought-out plan that balances both quality content and targeted advertising,” says Raghav Mathur, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, G/O Digital. “That’s why building a strategy grounded in a customer-centric approach and long-term ROI – not a singular campaign – is key in positioning businesses to grow, compete and thrive, year after year.”

They study also found that Facebook can benefit brick-and-mortar retailers as well as stores with websites. Using Facebook to inform customers about promotions and coupons would motivate 60 percent of those surveyed to visit that business. Similarly, 13 percent said positive testimonials would encourage them to visit a local store and another 6 percent said that photos and video content could motivate them. It shows there are several ways that offline stores can use online marketing to their benefit.

Having a social media presence can benefit a business in many ways. About one in five (21%) of the survey respondents said they were “more likely to regularly check out products, prices and sales from the business – both online and in-store,” after interacting with Facebook pages. Similarly, 14 percent said they were more likely to seek out small businesses they came across on Facebook while shopping online. These responses show the value in making a page easy to find and for using popular tags in content. Even if people just stumble onto a Facebook page, the business may get traffic to their site and maybe a sale or two.

The G/O Digital study also has data relating to customer service. We’ve mentioned the importance of using social media to handle customer service issues and this study confirms it. Nearly three in five (58%) consumers expect to hear back from businesses within one day after contacting them on Facebook.

This data shows that Facebook is the most important platform for small business and that marketers who ignore the social network are giving up a lot of potential sales. Even if social media marketing becomes more expensive on popular platforms, the expenditure pays for itself when done properly.

For more information on social media marketing, read this article on why teens and young adults love Instagram.

 


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