SMBs to Double Social Media Effort This Year and Next

Small and medium-​sized businesses (SMBs) may have been late to the social media party, but many of these enterprises now see the promise in this marketing channel. For years, many SMBs have been using traditional media outlets to connect with local consumers. But now that so many consumers are using social media, SMB owners see that they can communicate directly with potential clients in their local market. This realization has analysts at Borrell Associates predicting large increases for this channel.

After surveying over 4,000 SMBs, Borrell Associates analysts have their finger on the pulse of SMB ad spending. Last year, this industry sector spent about $1.1 billion on social media which was equivalent to 13.7% of their total online ad spending. By the end of 2012, that spending level will increase to $2 billion. And in 2013, the social media investment by SMBs will approach $3.9 billion.

According to the Borrell survey, SMBs allocate their online ad spending as follows:

  • E‑mail: 17.4%
  • Search Engine/​Keyword purchases: 15.1%
  • Social Media: 13.7%
  • Business Directory: 12.0%
  • Banner/​Display/​Targeted Display: 8.5%
  • Streaming Video Ads: 8.0%
  • Banner Display/​Run of Display: 7.2%
  • Mobile Advertising 5.5%
  • Sponsorships: 5.1%
  • Audio Ads: 3.1%
  • Other Online: 4.4%

SMBs are getting social in a big way. About 66% of these enterprises have some type of social media presence, usually Facebook. By 2012, analysts predict 80% of SMBs will participate in social media.

The 2012 Small Business Marketing Forecast from Ad-​ology Research also found that 50.3% of SMBs will increase what they spend on social media in 2012. SMB merchants believe their efforts in this channel will improve the customer experience. The larger commitment of resources to social media may also help these retailers increase sales.

[Sources: Main Street  Goes Social. Borrell Associates. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012; 2012 Small Business Marketing Forecast. Ad​-ology​.com. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.