Social Media Not a Marketing Strategy for Nearly 40% of Small Businesses

Staff Report

Friday, March 29th, 2019

More than one-third of small businesses lack social media accounts, according to a new survey from Visual Objects, a website showcasing portfolios of top creative firms around the world. The data suggests that social media, while a versatile tool, may not be the best marketing tool for every small business.

Most small businesses (63%) however, do invest in social media accounts to expand their brands' reach. Visual Objects' survey of 529 small businesses also found that 22% of small businesses without social media accounts plan to create them in the next two years.

Small businesses that use social media believe it presents an authentic brand image to wider audiences. These companies find social media to be an affordable investment – even when operating with fewer resources and smaller staffs.

Social media channels and corresponding software management tools can make it easy for small businesses to tailor social media strategies to their unique business goals.

Images Are Most Popular Social Media Content for Small Businesses, but Experts Recommend Video Instead

Nearly 30% of small businesses (29%) share images or infographics on their social media accounts. Experts, however, recommend small businesses use video content to increase social media engagement.

"[Videos] get a higher engagement rate," said Ben Austin, CEO of Absolute Digital, a digital agency in the U.K. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a creative video. Generally, natural-looking [videos] from the company generate the most traction."

Only 16% of small businesses surveyed said they post videos more often than other types of content, even though videos are easy to repurpose and favored by platform algorithms.

"Video lends itself to being repurposed more easily than any other content," said Jeff Gibbard, chief brand officer at digital agency, From the Future. "If you take a video, you can generally create a blog post out of that video, then take screenshots and turn them into Instagram posts."

Experts agree that small businesses should post images and infographics on social media, but videos will provide the engagement metrics that small businesses are looking for: Almost one-quarter of small businesses (24%) track social media success through likes, shares, and comments.

Small Businesses Typically Keep Social Media Management In-House

More than half of small businesses (56%) manage their social media accounts in-house, and 37% use social media software to oversee accounts on multiple channels.

Some small businesses hire external resources for social media management. For example, more than one-quarter of small businesses (28%) work with an agency to maintain their social media accounts. Experts warn however, that an agency should not drown out the authentic brand voice of smaller businesses that seek their expertise.

Visual Objects' 2019 Small Business Social Media Survey included 529 small business owners and managers in the U.S.

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