Recent Studies Hold Lessons for Small Business Social Media Marketing

If you’re a home-based or other small- or medium-sized business owner, you’ve likely begun to integrate or are at least thinking about integrating the use of social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, into your overall marketing plan.  And you wouldn’t be alone.  A number of recent studies demonstrate that the use of social media for small- and medium-sized (SMB) business marketing purposes is steadily rising.

According to a spring 2011 American Express OPEN® Small Business Monitor survey, internet-based marketing and social media use are up across the board as compared to previous years.  In particular, an all-time high of 35% (up from just 15% in 2009) of small businesses report they’re using online social networking for marketing, while the use of blogs has nearly doubled.

Additionally, a recent report from BIA/Kelsey cited on www.marketingprofs.com revealed that Twitter use among SMBs doubled from 2009 to 2010.  In addition, that survey showed nearly half (48%) of SMBs now use Facebook for marketing purposes, while one in five currently uses blogs.  Furthermore, 46% of SMBs plan to use social sites and blogs aggressively as part of their marketing efforts over the course of the next year.

While all of this is well and good, a recent BrightEdge analysis regarding the use of social media among leading consumer brands indicates even they are not utilizing these relatively new marketing options in such a way as to maximize their full potential.  And if the big guys aren’t getting it right, what’s the likelihood the little guys are?

The BrightEdge analysis examined the social media presence of the top 200 brands in the world.  And while 100% of them hold the top or a near-top rank in search results for their brand name, the company found 70% of them did not rank in the top 20 results for social media such as Facebook or Twitter

BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu had this to say about his company’s findings, “Brands today are pouring countless resources into social media channels―and are creating great content that will help them engage with consumers.”  However, he went on to remark, “Brands may be missing critical customer connection points if consumers can’t easily discover their social media pages in search.”

So what can you do as a home-based or other small business owner to ensure you’re doing what the big guys aren’t and make the most of your social media marketing efforts?  According to Entrepreneur.com’s Daily Dose, there are two steps you can and should take, if at all possible:

  1. Link your Facebook page to your business website page and vice versa.  This will increase your search ranking for your Facebook page and can be done by your page administrator from the website field, which can be found under the “Edit Page” option on the top right of your Facebook page.
  2. Keep your Facebook page updated, current and interesting because new content increases not only your likeability and your link-ability, it also increases the chances that your information will be shared―all of which can result in a higher search engine ranking.  This is especially important now that search engines like Google and Bing include what are being termed “social” signals in their search algorithms.

Make efforts to integrate all of your social media and other marketing options wherever possible, and you’ll be more likely than even America’s top companies to make the most of what today’s technology has to offer.

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