The new study reveals that almost 40 per cent of UK SMEs are using social media to market their business.
What’s more, the study suggests that nearly eight out of ten of those currently using social media marketing expect to increase their use of the tool to drive business results in the next year. Of those not using social media marketing currently, 27 per cent plan to begin using it in the next year.
The study, which surveyed almost 700 UK SMEs, found that they have a keen understanding that social media marketing will be increasingly important in the coming months. In fact, over two-thirds report that social media is an effective way to market their business, and 64 per cent report that social media will become more important in the future.
Specifically, these smaller companies report that social media is a good way to generate word of mouth and referrals, is cost effective, is a good way to communicate with existing and prospective customers, and can help their business succeed.
Facebook is the tool of choice among those SMEs using social media with half using it for marketing purposes, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and group deals.
“What’s interesting is that, while the number of UK SMEs using social media marketing is still under 50 per cent, those SMEs who are using it clearly see its value – and are looking to increase their social media efforts,” said Annette Iafrate, UK managing director at Constant Contact. “We’ve believed for some time that social media marketing could offer big value to SMEs, primarily because it is all about engaging, and that’s something that SMEs are real experts at. The issue has been getting to the understanding that doing social media marketing doesn’t have to take a lot of time.”
Time is indeed a clear hurdle to SMEs’ use of social media; a full 41 per cent reported that they believe social media marketing requires a lot of time – something they just don’t have much of. Furthermore, four out of ten feel they need to know more about how to use social media marketing.