Social Media Boosts Exposure & Traffic for SMBs

Want some good news for your Wednesday? How’s this: If you’re a small business owner who is investing time in social media, chances are you’re beating out your medium- and large-sized counterparts in benefits. How’s that feel? Pretty good, right? And that was just one of the statistics that came out of the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report put together by Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner.

Michael’s report polled 3,342 business owners and analyzed their experiences with social media. What he found was that SMBs using social for local marketing saw significant boosts in exposure, traffic and sales. Not bad.

More than 90 percent of marketers surveyed responded they view social media as being important to their business, with the self-employed set finding it even more useful. Sixty-seven percent of self-employed marketers, and 66 percent of SMBs with 2 or more employees, were more likely to “strongly agree” with that statement.

What are marketers getting from social media? The leading benefit of social media for small business is increased brand awareness, as cited by 88 percent of marketers. Other benefits cited were:

  • Increase Traffic – 72 percent
  • Improved Search Rankings – 62 percent
  • New Partnerships – 59 percent
  • Better Sales – 48 percent
  • Reduction in Marketing Costs – 59 percent for self-employed, 58 percent for SMBs
  • Twice as likely to find qualified leads

Or, in other words, social media is taking what used to be a fractured set of the population and connecting them to the people who can help their business. When you take an entrepreneur who previously worked in isolation out of his basement selling vinyl records and introduce him to the world of social media, suddenly his business is more search-friendly, more profitable and better connected because he’s no longer cut off from resources. Through social media and tools like Twitter, Facebook and blogging he’s able to reach out and build awareness like never before. The result of that, as this data set captures, is pretty major.

But to benefit from social media, you need to spend time there. Unequivocally, the numbers showed that the business that invests more time in social media sees more results. These relationships take time to work up, which translates to investing many hours per week, over a long stretch of time, to see social media’s true benefit. For example, the survey found that 52 percent of marketers who spent 6 hours a week engaging in social media saw lead generation benefits and that 45 percent of marketers who have been in social media for 12 months or less created new partnerships as a result of their interactions. If you’re looking to justify your social media time, those seem like pretty good numbers to know.

If you have any questions as to whether or not social media can “work” for your business and what your participation needs to look like to achieve different goals, I’d recommend you check out Michael’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report survey because it really does house a lot of really interesting statistics that I haven’t seen published elsewhere.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

10 Reactions
  1. Thanks, Lisa,

    Great post, as usual…

    Time; who would have thought that social media marketing would be such a time suck?

    Twitter is the worst. (And the best) Once I open up my Chrome-Tweetdeck/HootSuite combo on my PC, it’s ova.

    1.75 hours gone.

    And the people I’ve met…

    The Franchise King®

  2. We’ve increasingly been hearing the value of social media marketing from our SMB customers. Another very important benefit is the power of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s a proven fact, based on research from Chadwick Martin Bailey, that people are more likely to recommend a product or service to their friends after they have “liked” it on Facebook or followed the company on Twitter. This forms an interactive community that encourages engaged communication that will help your brand on every level.

  3. Hopefully we’ll see growth in the number citing “better sales” as a benefit. 48% is good, but if it doesn’t translate into sales many will abandon their efforts.

  4. I look forward to reading your report. Social media are a rich resource for small businesses as they are for nonprofits which share some critical characteristics, including the need to reach out inexpensively. Best practices for both are similar.

  5. Great article Lisa. I guess the jury is IN. If a small business owner isn’t using social media as part of her marketing mix, she is missing out on an easy, and mostly free avenue to connect with current and future customers. The data prove it beyond conjecture.

  6. It’s a proven fact, based on research from Chadwick Martin Bailey, that people are more likely to recommend a product or service to their friends after they have “liked” it on Facebook or followed the company on Twitter.