Would I be wrong in speculating that SMBs have always placed more value in word-of-mouth advertising than larger corporations? Aside from the fact that it’s very cost effective (pretty much free), each and every relationship they create and nurture is absolutely their life blood. After all, with an SMB, you might only be a few relationship breakups away from oblivion.
So, I’m not too surprised to read a post at eMarketer about a new survey which suggests that to SMBs, social marketing is more attractive than paid search for online marketing. Word-of-mouth advertising is the number one way respondents (82%) reported that customers find them, followed by search engines and the internet (66%). Traditional advertising came in a distant third at just 37%.
In fact, according to the survey, SMBs report social media as their number two priority for online marketing. 44% reported they used social media to market their business which ranked second to a company website at 86%. Email followed in third at 35% (although why it is described as “mass email” in the data is beyond me), then came SEO for better search rankings at 28% and paid search at 21%.
As I alluded to earlier, you can make a good comparison with what SMBs have always done well (relationship and WoM) and how social media and social marketing works. SMBs are good at building and nurturing relationships and will often be far more willing to put in the extra time required to keep those relationships healthy.
As well, there’s nothing SMBs like better than some good old fashioned roll up the sleeves DIY and you can certainly DIY social media marketing. Whether you should or not is a topic for another day.
What you should definitely do is have a plan and a vision before you leap into social media. Social media won’t solve any of your problems if you don’t have a plan to apply it with and that goes for any company big or small. Chris Tompkins of GO! Media and I touched on just that topic at the Fusion Marketing Experience in Brussels last week.