Social Media Tools Underused by Small Businesses: Survey

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

According to survey results, consumers are more likely to "like" a business on Facebook because of personal interest.

As consumers continue to clamor to social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls found that small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are not using these tools to the fullest potential to capture their customers' attention.

The survey polled more than 1,100 SMB decision-makers and more than 500 consumers throughout the United States on their use of social media. Nearly half of the surveyed SMBs utilize social channels to market to customers; the survey found of those, an overwhelming majority (86 percent) have Facebook accounts. The majority of consumers surveyed (93 percent) also use Facebook, according to the research.

According to the survey results, consumers are more likely to "like" a business on Facebook because of personal interest (31 percent), while SMBs named connecting with customers (28 percent) as their reason for using Facebook. Through Facebook, 19 percent of consumers have "un-liked" a company or brand. Additionally, 37 percent cite special deals/discounts as the way to get their attention on Facebook. Yet, only 10 percent of SMBs find offering specials/discounts on Facebook to be an effective way to reach their customers on Facebook.

"The term 'Facebook Fatigue' has been thrown around a lot lately, but survey data shows that consumers are far from their saturation point with social media," said Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. "Social media has become a way of life for consumers and it's essential that SMBs use these tools to their maximum potential to connect with customers."

According to surveyed SMBs and consumers, the most effective tactics for businesses to reach customers are wall posts and direct messages, and of SMBs and consumers who use daily deal sites, Groupon was the most frequently used. Yet, nearly half of surveyed consumers believe Facebook is more effective than daily deal sites. The top three favorite features by both SMBs and consumers are photos, messages and status updates, the survey found.

"When marketing to customers, SMBs should consider these survey results," said Terry. "While a special discount is a powerful approach to engage, sending them messages directly or asking them their opinion via survey or poll is also a persuasive way to show that they are valued and their opinions are heard."

Zoomerang has also introduced a survey application, Zoomerang Surveys and Polls for Facebook. The free Facebook application not only allows users to poll their friends on their thoughts and ideas directly on Facebook, but also provides real-time feedback. Businesses can survey customers and prospects on their opinions toward certain products or services as well as what they would like to see offered. Additionally, users can add photos and video in their question and answer choices. Plus, Facebook sharing options allow the survey or poll to spread virally to reach people beyond one's immediate network, a company release noted.