An article in Entrepreneur magazine highlights that small business owners are spending more time and money on social media. The data is presented as an infographic. Here are some of the most interesting points.
Nearly 80 percent of small business owners spend at least six hours per week on social media. Compared to a year ago, 66 percent of small businesses are spending more time on social media. Most of this time is still dominated by Facebook and Twitter. But, other social sites are used too: LinkedIn, Google+, etc. In addition, more than half of small businesses also have a blog. More and more, small businesses are coming to accept the importance of social media. In fact, another finding points out that four times the number of small businesses have increased their social media budget versus decreasing it.
When it comes to spending on social media, 36 percent state they pay for social media publishing and social media analytics tools. More than half say they spend $26 or more per month. While this is not a large amount compared to other marketing activities, it’s clear social media is amongst the most rapidly growing areas of developing brand awareness.
Getting in on social media is something that, clearly, more and more small businesses are doing. However, the majority of small businesses are also now spending on social media analytics. This is an important step forward for social media in general. Social media analytics helps justify the time and money spent by helping to evaluate and validate results. Such analytics also help small business owners adapt campaigns or to keep doing what works. For example, if a small business owner uses two landing pages for a campaign. Let’s say one landing page was in an email newsletter to give away a coupon. Another landing page was in the newsletter to promote a new service. With proper analytics, one can not only measure visits to the landing page but also, how often those landing pages were shared. One should also be able to view where the link was shared and who shared it. Adding sentiment analysis to Twitter shares also helps evaluate how customers perceived the landing page. This is all valuable data to learn what works and to keep doing what works. This data can ensure time spent on social media leads to good results. After all, one other data point of the infographic included that 1/3 of CEOs / owners / proprietors want to spend less time on social media. Knowing that social media is yielding results can actually make you want to spend more time on it.
Measuring Gamification in Social Media
Also in Entrepreneur, an article points out that gamification is a good way to engage users in your social media channels. There are many ways to do so and contests are the most popular. Let’s say you own a beauty salon that sells a new hair color product. You could run a Facebook campaign encouraging followers to post their before-and-after photos when they use the hair color product. Your store employees can be the judge of who wins and offer the winner, say, a free product or free services for a period of time in return. Such campaigns help promote the beauty shop in multiple ways. It demonstrates it sells products customers want. It demonstrates customers are happy. It creates mindshare for future purchases, and more.
In doing such a campaign, you might launch it from your email newsletter. Then, you might refer to a blog post with the details and then mention that blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Then, it’s time to start measuring the results. Using a good social media monitoring tool, you can track the progress of it daily, weekly, etc. Did it take off in the first week? Were some social media channels more useful than others? How many people passed along details about the contest via social media? Or, if it didn’t take off, you’ll know that too and can adjust to change the popularity of the contest in your favor and ensure success.
Social media is here to stay. More and more, small businesses and big businesses are getting in on it. Also more and more, measuring results with good social media monitoring tools is important. As businesses come to spend more time and money on social media, ensuring a return on investment via social media intelligence will also continue to grow in importance.
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