May 03, 2017

Small Businesses Missing the Mark on Social Media Marketing

Millennials are much more likely to part with their hard-earned dollars to support a small business, according to a survey released by AT&T. Almost half of millennials said they would pay more to support a small business, compared to 38 percent of Gen-X and 42 percent of Baby Boomer respondents. Yet when it comes to embracing technology’s critical role in reaching millennial customers, small businesses are missing the mark.

Small businesses are struggling to attract customers through social media, and most small business owners don’t have a social media marketing strategy, according to a Netsertive survey released Tuesday. While social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses to share events, promote their services and connect with existing and potential customers, especially tech-savvy millennials, nearly half are not setting aside the time or money to establish an online presence.

Netsertive, a digital marketing technology company, surveyed the local marketing habits of 250 small businesses across the U.S. Almost half of the survey respondents don’t have a formal social media marketing strategy in place, and only 26 percent claim to have advanced knowledge of social media marketing. Thirty percent said their social media skills are “intermediate” and 24 percent called their skills “novice.”

“Social media is constantly evolving, and we understand the challenges both brands and small businesses face when it comes to leveraging these mediums to drive online audiences to brick-and-mortar locations,” said Brendan Morrissey, CEO and co-founder of Netsertive.

Of those surveyed, 42 percent of respondents believe Facebook is the best social channel for driving sales, but the same number of respondents aren’t able to tie their social media marketing efforts directly to in-store traffic. And for the most part, small business owners are not using other social media channels to tap into the purchasing power of younger consumers. Only nine percent of business owners say Twitter is valuable to their business, followed by six percent for Instagram.

“Millennials have tremendous purchasing power and small businesses have the opportunity to tap into these younger generations,” said LaKendra D. Davis, assistant vice president of Small Business Solutions at AT&T. “Given the likelihood of millennials to shop small, and the level of millennial engagement on social media, small business can deliver a differentiated customer experience and grow revenue with an effective social media strategy.”

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About the author

Melanie King
A storyteller since first grade, Melanie King has shaped a career around writing engaging narratives—though her illustrations haven’t improved much since age 6. As a reporter and editor, Melanie has written about everything from retail and tourism trends to economic development for regional newspapers, trade publications, and national magazines. As Lendio’s Director of Public Relations, she specializes in reporting fintech industry news and its impact on American small businesses. Melanie has a B.A. in Journalism from Brigham Young University. She is also a backpacker, runner, and mom of four.

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