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Constant Contact survey shows small businesses are unhappy with social media usage but often don't understand how to judge success

A survey carried out by online marketing tools provider Constant Contact Inc. has shown a disconnect between British small businesses’ perception of social media marketing success and the reality. Among the one quarter (24 per cent) of British small business decision makers surveyed that reported using Facebook to market their organisation, more than a third (37 per cent) said they didn’t think it had helped their business in anyway, whilst one fifth (21 per cent) believed Facebook use was doing a great job to market their business.

Constant Contact reviewed small businesses use of Facebook

The data revealed several misconceptions that explain small businesses attitudes towards Facebook, and showed small businesses were actually doing a better job than they believed. Annette Iafrate, UK managing director at Constant Contact, explained: “We were surprised to see the misconceptions that many British small businesses have about what social media marketing success looks like - especially when their own results show they are doing a fantastic job.”

The survey showed that small business are using engagement marketing without even realising by demonstrating that Britain’s small businesses simply aren’t familiar enough with engagement marketing to realise they are doing it. Of those who use Facebook 42 per cent are engaging with fans by responding to posts on their Facebook Timeline, 59 per cent use Facebook to post updates about products and services, 15 per cent ask people to ‘Like’ their page for vouchers and discounts, 14 per cent answer customer service issues and 9 per cent conduct polls or ask questions.

Iafrate added: “Engagement isn’t complicated, nor does it have to be costly. Responding to fans, asking questions, and ‘Like-gating’ content or offers are all great ways to boost interaction with your fans. The best part for time-starved small businesses is that doing these things takes just a few minutes a day.”

Out of those surveyed the results also found that small businesses overestimate what’s needed for success. Of those willing to hazard a guess, one fifth of respondents whose small business uses Facebook (23 per cent) believe success equates to achieving more than 500 shares, comments or Likes on a single post. In reality it takes far less, more than half (52 per cent) of respondents who reported knowing how many Likes, shares, or comments their posts usually get are achieving fantastic results for their business by generating up to ten Likes, shares or comments on each FacebookBusiness page post.

Small business decision makers did, however, report seeing real business from social media marketing, 22 per cent of respondents said they found new customers through the social network and 12 per cent credited it with generating repeat sales. One third (33 per cent) say they’ve added up to 25 new fans in the last six months, and 31 per cent say they have seen value in spreading the word about special offers or new products.

The survey showed a lack of measurement is one of the reasons behind small businesses dissatisfaction with their social media results. Of those surveyed 66 per cent said they didn’t use any form of analytics, with 40 per cent saying they are looking for better ways to measure their success.

Full results of the survey are shown on infographic below:


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