New poll sheds light on social media use
Small business insurance company, HiscoxUSA.com polled 304 decision makers for American companies with under 250 employees on their attitudes toward social media and its role in business.
Astoundingly, only 12% considered social media “a must” for their business although half indicated word of mouth is critical to their business. The disconnect is interesting because of the half that said they rely on word of mouth, only 4% rely on social networking as marketing. Obviously, there is a disparity between small business leaders’ beliefs about social media and the realities of social media marketing.
Further, 64% either felt social media was unnecessary or something they had no opinion on. With that majority feeling this way about social media, other small business operators (like real estate professionals) are at an advantage- who wants every competitor in the pool? Those successfully executing social media marketing campaigns in the small business and real estate world would love nothing more than to be the only ones in front of such a rapidly growing audience.
Studies now show that consumers in America prefer the advice of a peer rather than an expert and social networking is one pathway toward becoming a trusted peer rather than a disconnected expert.
The most commonly used network: Facebook
For those companies surveyed that are using social media marketing, Facebook was unsurprisingly their most commonly used network, cited as such for being effective at growing business, closely followed by LinkedIn. If this survey were given in 2008, Twitter would likely have ranked higher on the list.
Emarketer.com weighed in on the study results, noting that “While offline forms of word-of-mouth remain critical for all brands, and certainly for small, local businesses, social media also plays a valuable role by giving customers a wider voice for their recommendations and helping to amplify that voice beyond their immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues.”