Social media has emerged as a game changer in modern-day marketing, but a new study suggests the majority of small businesses aren’t buying it – literally.

A new study from SocialStrategy1 and OfficeArrow indicates that more than two-thirds of business owners will not invest in social media in 2012.

The study, outlined in an infographic at, suggests that while an overwhelming majority of small business owners understand how social media can have a direct effect on their bottom-line, less than a third of them plan to actually invest in it.

The study analyzed 343 executives from companies of less than 10 employees each.

So how are small businesses using social media?

  • 61% have tried Facebook
  • 48% have tried LinkedIn
  • 37% have tried Twitter
  • 14% have tried Google Plus

And why are small businesses using social media?

  • 48% want to increase brand awareness
  • 33% want to generate more leads
  • 32% want to improve customer service
  • 17% want to enhance ratings and reviews
  • 31% don’t know where to start

And who do small businesses assign to manage their social media?

  • 18% manage it themselves
  • 15% outsource to a specialized service
  • 13% don’t even use social media
  • 8% assign it to the marketing department
  • 4% assign it to a director
  • 3% assign it to the IT department

And the most surprising statistic of all: only 30 percent of small businesses plan to invest in social media next year.

One reason for the lack in social media interest might be the fact that only 4 percent of those polled actually used social monitoring programs, suggesting that 96 percent don’t have an accurate understanding of how their current social strategies are performing.  Another reason might be that many small businesses reported being overwhelmed with information overload, having too many different social networking websites to manage with not enough employees to realize its true potential.

Does your company plan to invest in social media next year?  If so, how?

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan is the VP of Marketing for PaySimple, the leading provider of service commerce solutions for SMBs. At PaySimple, Sarah leads the company's brand, acquisition, lifecycle, and product marketing strategies, and has been an integral player in growing the company from a fledgling startup to a leading SaaS platform, serving over 15,000 businesses across the country. She loves live music, being outside, great food, and hanging out with her husband, little boy, and dog.

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One response to “How small businesses are [not] using social media”

  1. Gail Gardner says:

    Small businesses still show very little understanding of Internet marketing and especially social media. Many don’t even know why they should advertise offline because they are stuck doing what used to work that doesn’t any more.

    Google is the most dangerous to their survival because first they handed them the golden geese (AdWords and organic traffic) and then they substituted non-converting untargeted traffic and now they are taking even that traffic away.

    Any business that focuses on what USED to work – and that includes trying to “fix” whatever they think they’re doing wrong in AdWords or ranking organically – will miss what they need to be doing: tapping all other sources of potential sales NOW not later!