Small Businesses Increase Social Efforts, and Budgets

Although they are struggling with the added workload of social media and content creation, small businesses are ramping up their social efforts and are increasingly finding value in paid social media tools.

According to an online survey of 462 businesses (93% with fewer than 100 employees), conducted between Sept. 17 and Oct. 5 by VerticalResponse, 66% of small businesses are spending more time and money on social media than they did a year ago, with 43% spending six or more hours per week on social media activities for their business.

How are those hours being spent? On Facebook and Twitter, mostly, as 90% of respondents are active on the former; 70% on the latter. Only a third of the small businesses surveyed said they are able to publish to their social networks every day.

Most small businesses recognize the value of content, as 55% have a company blog. Of those, 43% publish a post at least once per week. The data shows that 45% spend one to three hours to create one post, while 16% spend more than three hours. For some, spending six or more hours per week on social media activities, coupled with the one to three hours for writing a single blog post, creates a major time strain.

That's why small businesses are investing more in social media tools and resources. The data suggests that if a small business is going to increase its budget, it will likely be for social media rather than marketing; 36% of those surveyed pay for social media publishing and analytics tools.  Of those, 58% spend $26 or more every month for the tools.

Small businesses should proceed with caution when considering the shiniest new social media tools. We've listed some free tools that can help, whether for listening across social media or for using Twitter specifically. The tool that aligns closest with your business strategy is probably your best choice.

Here's an infographic highlighting the research data from VerticalResponse: 

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