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2 Page 2 CONTENTS SMALL BUSINESS FOCUS... 2 INTRODUCTION... 3 IT IS ALL ABOUT TIME... 4 TIME SPENT DECLINING... 4 B2B VS B2C... 4 EMPLOYEES IN LARGER COMPANIES SPEND MORE TIME... 4 FEELS LIKE MORE TIME... 5 WHERE ARE YOU SPENDING TIME?... 6 NETWORK BY MARKET SEGMENT... 6 NETWORK BY SIZE... 6 WHAT ARE BUSINESSES DOING ONLINE?... 7 BUILDING AWARENESS... 7 CUSTOMER CARE... 7 RESEARCH / INFORMATION GATHERING... 8 LEAD GENERATION... 8 RECRUITMENT... 8 BLOGS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS EMBRACING CONTENT... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. SMALL BUSINESS IRREGULAR UPDATES... 9 CONTENT CREATION BUSINESS OWNER OR KEY MANAGER IN CHARGE WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED RESULTS... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED. All rights reserved Roundpeg 2014

3 INTRODUCTION Four years ago, social media was beginning to explode as a marketing tool for small business owners. We began to look for studies on how small companies were using social media and their results. Page 3 While many surveys have looked into how consumers and large companies used social media, few examined the use of social media by small companies. It was that lack of data which drove us to conduct our first study in 2010 In the world of social media, a year is a long time. The social landscape and the world of internet marketing changes rapidly so we have made the study an annual event. While some questions have remained the same, the focus has shifted with trends in the market. This year, with the shift toward inbound marketing, we have added questions to explore in more detail the use of marketing and blogging. The Details Small businesses are defined as companies with employees. It is important to note we did not attempt to measure the number of small businesses using social media, blogging and but rather how business users are employing the tools. This study was conducted online from March 1 May 1, Links to the survey were shared on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and via . It was also publicized on a number of marketing websites in addition to We received 200 responses. As in years past more than half our responses come from LinkedIn. At first, we were concerned the disproportionate response would skew the data. As we delved into the responses, we discovered the LinkedIn respondents participated in a number of other social media platforms. They seemed to respond to the LinkedIn request because the message didn t get lost in the stream. Instead, they were more likely to see and respond to the request that came through LinkedIn, regardless of what other social networks they used. Where bias may have occurred due to LinkedIn s overwhelming response rate, we have noted it. We hope that you find this study useful. After you have read the study, please share your comments on our blog. We would love to know what you think about the study and how you compare to your fellow small business owners. If you would like to receive updates and information on additional studies, please sign up here: Request Updates

4 IT IS ALL ABOUT TIME There is a popular misconception that social media is free marketing. It isn t. Social media takes time. For small businesses, time is a precious commodity. So when we ask small business owners why they aren t more active on social media, they often tell us it is because they don t have the time. How much time does it really take to manage an effective social media marketing program?. Time Spent Declining Page 4 The data shows the average small business is actually spending less time on social media then they did a few years ago. In 2010, 35% of the respondents in our survey said they were spending an hour or more each day interacting on social media. This year, the community of social media activists has shrunk to less than 28% of the survey pool who are investing an hour or more. Why the decline? In general, we see small business owners settling into a routine with their social media. They have moved past the feeling they need to be on every single platform. Instead, they are concentrating their efforts on fewer, more relevant platforms. At the same time, we have seen an explosion of productivity tools which allow savvy business owners to do more with less time invested. Business to Business vs Business to Consumer Social media activity is not the same for companies which target consumers vs. those which target other businesses. Most consumer products and services fit more naturally within the Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr communities. These companies are spending more time than their B2B counterparts. Looking ahead to 2015, the tide may be turning as Linkedin gives B2B companies more reasons to get invovled with expansion of the Company Profiles section of their platform. At the same time, Facebook seems to be losing ground with small business as they try to force more companies down the path of sponsored links.. Employees in Larger Companies Spend More Time The size of the company is another factor which seems to effect the amount of time spent daily on social media. In smaller firms, employees are much less likely to spend an hour or more a day on social media.

5 This makes sense when you consider the multiple hats employees in small firms are likely to wear. Page 5 Only as companies grow do we see full-time marketing roles being created, increasing the average time spent on social media significantly. Feels Like More Time One last data point surprised us. Although the trend seems to be toward spending less time on social media, the perception among respondents is that they are spending the same or more time than they did a year ago. Nothing in the data explains this perception and its discrepancy with the facts. We can only speculate that after all these years, the novelty has worn off. Social media is just another marketing task and the routine has become tedious.

6 Page 6 WHERE IS TIME SPENT? When we conducted our first study in 2010, we simply asked where people had develop social media profiles, focusing on the most common networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Plaxo, at that time.) In 2011, we expanded the question to include more networks. With the number of networks growing and changing each year, it is hard to keep up with what s hot. Simply asking if a company has a profile is not a strong enough indication of business activity. In recent years, we have concentrated on primary business accounts. While people may experiment with a number of networks, it almost always comes down to using one of the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) as the primary business communication tool. Only 3% of the participants listed any other network as their go-to site. Google+ has yet to break into the top three. Most business owners are beginning to see the SEO value of the platform, but they are not jumping in and trying to engage on this platform. Network by Size Network by Market Segment It was not surprising to see the choice of primary network lines up along customer lines. 69% of companies focused on the consumer segment chose Facebook as their primary network. In contrast, 59% of B2B companies gravitate toward LinkedIn as their primary social network. This has been fairly consistent each year. Twitter has edged out Facebook for the number two slot for B2B companies. While industry and target customer do seem to effect the choice of network, the size of the company seems less relevant with a fairly even split between Facebook and Linkedin. Solo entrepreneurs seem more likely to rely on Twitter to build their business network. We saw almost 20% of these individuals listing Twitter as their primary network. The larger companies in our study actually seem less focused with very few straying from the tried and true Facebook and LinkedIn tools.

7 WHAT ARE BUSINESSES DOING ONLINE? Page 7 So what are business owners doing with their time online? We divided the activities into a few broad categories: awareness, customer care, research and lead generation and recruitment. In each category, we see the small businesses gravitating to the more passive activities. Building Awareness This category includes activities such as product launches, building professional networks, showcasing expertise and generally driving traffic to a website. More than 70% of respondents use social media to build brand awareness and a professional network. This has been fairly consistent in every study we have conducted. In contrast less than 30% indicate they rely on social media to launch new products or services. One interesting fact which emerged from the analysis of the data by company size was the larger companies seemed to be less likely to depend on social media to build brand awareness. This makes sense as larger companies are likely to invest in several marketing and awareness building activities. Customer Care We included both staying in touch with clients and more specifically customer service in this category. About twice as many companies use social media to say in touch (60.3%) as those who indicated they used social media to provide customer service (33.9%). When we break the data down by market we see consumer companies even less likely than their B2B counterparts to use social media to resolve issues. This is surprising because social media has given customers a way to ask for help but it seems small businesses are not quite ready to take on the challenge of putting a plan in place to resolve these issues. In conversations with business owners, we often hear that the open and free-form nature of these social media tools pose a perceived threat, since they have no true control over the messages and responses they might receive..

8 Page 8 Research / Information Gathering This includes looking for news, resources, tools, tracking industry trends and competitors. This is why the internet was originally created- to make it easier for scientists and researchers to share data. Today, business owners seem to be using it for that as well. As we have seen in other categories, the more passive actives of looking for news are more common than the active items such as conducting research. When you consider how open and accessible companies are online, it was surprising to discover less than 40% of respondents said they used social media to track their competitors or industry trends. Recruitment Lead Generation In this category, we placed responses about specific lead generation activates such as looking for clients and running contests and promotions. Again business owners seemed to shy away from the more active choices. Only 20% of respondents said they take advantage of social media platforms to run social media contests and promotions. Finding qualified employees is always a challenge for companies of any size. I was surprised to see how few small business take advantage of the opportunism to connect and learn about prospective employees or share job listings socially. Over the last few years, the number of businesses which use social media to find employees has hovered between 25-30%. This is extremely surprising when you consider how many companies use LinkedIn as their primary social network for business.

9 BLOGS AND This year we added questions about blogging and social media to the survey to get a broader picture of content marketing programs among small business owners. Trend Toward Content Page 9 As Goggle publically emphasizes the importance of content, it is not surprising to see 63% of the companies we surveyed answering in the affirmative regarding the presence of a company blog. 65% of the companies in our study are producing a company newsletter. When we break the data down by company size some interesting trends emerge. While the smallest companies (1 person) are most likely to report the existence of a company blog, their larger counter parts are clearly more likely to embrace the opportunities presented by newsletters. While both and blogs are popular among small businesses, when we scratch the surface we find they are not using these tools with as much consistency as they should. Inconsistent Updates As we explore the topic of frequency, the trends are encouraging. The majority of companies which use these tools are using them with some regularity. For newsletters, almost 80% of the respondents are distributing their at least one update a month. While once a month is adequate for an campaign, it really isn't often enough for a blogging program. We still saw more than 60% of the businesses which have a blog claiming to update several times a month at least.

10 Page 10 CONTENT CREATION Creating a profile on each network is easy. Creating a steady stream of interesting and engaging content isn t. So who is providing direction and who is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to content generation? When we conducted our first study in 2010, many businesses were relying on interns and part time employees to fuel the social media process. Business Owner or Key Manager in Charge In recent years, we have seen a shift as owners and managers take control of their marketing. The management is fairly evenly divided between owner and employees. Only a small portion of the respondeds (6%) are using external agencies to manage their programs and just 1% indicated they are still relying on interns to manage this important marketing function.. Who Else is Involved? We are seeing companies investing in people to power their social media. While owners are almost always involved, 44% of the companies indicated they have a dedicated staff member generating content. This is up significantly from just two years ago, when 33% of the companies indicated they had one staff member in charge. There are also signs that companies are spreading the work to a larger team as 24% encourage all their employees to participate in a social media program. Across the board, media remains primarily an internal function, with 13% of companies leveraging customers and prospects and only 11% soliciting content from their vendors or external consulting or content generation firms.

11 Page 11 CONCLUSION We hope you have found this study useful. After you have read the report please share your comments on our blog. We would love to know what you think about the study and how you compare to your fellow small business owners. More Studies: So with all this activity, we pose this question to small business owners: Is all this internet stuff a powerful part of the marketing equation or a complete waste of time? Our next white paper will focus on the kind of results small businesses are seeing using content marketing strategies. We are still collecting data and expect that report to be published this fall. If you have not done so already, we would love you to participate in the study now. Take the Survey

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