Social media has changed the way that brands and businesses communicate with consumers. Whereas marketers historically directed a conversation toward the consumers, social media has given consumers the ability to speak directly back to the brands, as well as to each other about brands. This has also created a democratized landscape, where every brand stands on equal footing. This means that SMBs have the same ability to communicate directly with customers and prospects as larger, more well-known businesses with significantly higher marketing and communications budgets.
It’s no surprise then that social media is the number one channel where SMB marketers plan to increase spending in 2017, according to new study from Infusionsoft. More than half (56 percent) of respondents said they plan to spend more on social, easily outpacing digital advertising (32.6 percent) and SEO (31.5 percent), and more than double offline print and direct mail (21.2 percent), which were grouped together in the survey.
A big part of social media’s appeal, no doubt, is that SMBs can run campaigns themselves, thanks to the do-it-yourself (DIY) nature of the environments. This is especially true on Facebook, which also happens to be the social channel where SMBs plan to spend the most this year, according to a BIA/Kelsey report cited by eMarketer. Furthermore, it’s also the most popular social network with consumers, says a new report from Sprout Social.
But while social has caught on as a DIY marketing approach, the SMBs planning to spend more need to know that they can get the most out of social by choosing partners that use do-it-for-me (DIFM) or do-it-with-me (DIWM) tactics to deliver promotional messages. These partners – whether they are ad agencies or local media companies – can help SMBs not only craft messaging for their consumers, but also reach them in a more targeted fashion and across multiple channels too.
One of the beautiful things about social media, and Facebook in particular, is that advertisers can mix it into broader digital marketing plans. This means that advertising services partners can help SMBs develop creative and messaging that then runs across Facebook, Instagram and on other sites as digital display ads, helping the businesses reach even more of their target audiences. Using programmatic ad buying technology and optimization strategies, partners can ensure that SMBs are balancing their messaging so that it’s reaching the right consumers in the environments most likely to elicit positive outcomes.
So, while SMBs are excited about social media and likely to expand their investments, they need to be sure that they are getting the most out of their increased budgets. Spending more on the channel but maintaining all of the control through a DIY methodology might hold a lot of appeal, but it can add up to major work for the businesses themselves. Identifying partners who can help develop the creative, activate social audiences and run campaigns through DIFM or DIWM practices goes a long way toward helping those social media budgets drive new sales and grow SMBs’ bottom lines.