Ten years ago, marketing options for small business owners were fairly limited. Traditional media like radio, Tv and even most print advertising were just too expensive for small business.
Then along came the internet. Email marketing, social media, blogs and ad words offer small business owners a chance to get their message out. Suddenly, you could create the illusion, your company was much larger with the help of a great website and a strong social media program.
But how are these companies really using these tools? Every year since 2010, we have been asking small business owners questions to understand how social media fits in to their marketing mix.
Each year, the data supports some of our long held opinions and shakes other beliefs to the core. So we are ready to ask the questions again. While some things have remained relatively stable, we have seen shifts as owners seem to be more active, and interested in using social media for more then just brand awareness. We want to know if what we are seeing from our clients is fairly typical across a much broader audience.
In last year's study, even as owners were taking a more active role, the average amount of time invested in social media continued to decline slightly. The comments in our study seem to indicate the decline was brought on by a mix of more productivity tools and a more focused approach to social media. We are curious to see if this will continue in 2013.
Forbes and other publications are making predictions of social media usage for larger companies, we want to know what is going on in the small business community.
Will Google+ finally earn a space at the table with Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin? A year ago more than 50% of our respondents said they never logged in to G+. Personally I think we are still a year away from this network really catching on, but I want to know what the data says.
How do Pinterest, Instagram and other image based sites fit into the overall social mix? A year ago I was really excited about these rapidly growing photo sites, but for the most part, my small business clients haven't been very enthusiastic about diving in.
So, if you own or work for a company with less than 100 employees, we want to know what you think. How are you using social media as part of your marketing. Please take just a few minutes to answer the questions in our survey. We will be collecting data through the end of February, then sharing the results this spring.