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2/25/2010
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SMBs Using Social Media More. . . Reluctantly

Recent reports indicate the SMB use of social media is increasing at a steady clip, but other research finds that the commitment may be lackluster.

Recent reports indicate the SMB use of social media is increasing at a steady clip, but other research finds that the commitment may be lackluster.A week ago the SMB social media trend story was the Small Business Success Index (SBSI) findings that indicated small business social media adoption has zoomed from 12% to 24% in the past year. Usage may indeed be on the march, but that doesn't mean committed as the results of a survey out this week indicate.

According to the Value of Social Media Report from Econsultancy, most SMBs are in the feet dangling, dabbling, or experimental phase of social media adoption. Produced by Econsultancy in association with Online Marketing Summit, the online survey (full results available for $249) of more than 400 SMBs and enterprises during December and January sought to gauge the extent of social media marketing, the tactics, and the business objectives of the participating organizations.

So while the SBSI finding may indicate that 1 in 5 SMBs is now using social media (up from 1 in 10 last year), that surge is tempered by the results of this survey, which include the following:

  • 61% say that they "have experimented with social media, but not done that much"
  • 61% say their organizations are "poor" (34%) or "very poor" (27%) at measuring social media ROI
  • 32% do not spend anything on social media marketing and a further 36% spend under $5,000 a year
  • 32% are getting less than 1x the return on investment from social media

As these results indicate, with social media simply showing up isn't the hardest part. The findings indicate lukewarm commitment to social media. In part that may be attributable to legitimate security concerns about social media, but more likely represent a typical adoption curve for new technology and in this case one with a challenging ROI landscape.

Though this could be seen as discouraging for those in the pro-social media camp, it's worth noting that a survey last fall found that 84% of social media programs didn't measure ROI. So if 39% are now doing better than "poor" on calculating ROI, that's actually an improvement.

Don't Miss: Putting Public Social Networks To Work For Business.


Follow Benjamin Tomkins on Twitter @http://twitter.com/benjamintomkins Follow InformationWeek SMB on Twitter @http://twitter.com/infoweeksmb Get InformationWeek SMB on your mobile device @http://mobile.bmighty.comCustomers, Not Stimulus, Spur SMB Hiring

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