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A quarter of UK small businesses (24%) use Facebook to market their organisations, but more than a third of them (37%) say they don’t think it has helped their business in any way.
The survey of 1,000 small business decision makers by Constant Contact also found that just 21% of respondents believe they are doing a good job using Facebook to market their business.
However 22% of businesses that use Facebook said that they found new customers through the social network, while 12% credited it with generating repeat sales. Furthermore, one third (31%) say they have seen value in spreading the word about special offers or new products.
Constant Contact’s figures are slightly lower than those included in a survey by Basekit in May. It found that 36% of UK businesses now use Facebook to attract new customers.
Looking at how SMEs market themselves on Facebook:
- 42% are engaging with fans by responding to posts on their Facebook Timeline.
- 59% use Facebook to post updates about products and services on their Facebook Timeline.
- 15% ask people to ‘like’ their page to get vouchers and offers.
- 14% answer customer service issues.
- 9% conduct polls or ask questions.
One of the main reasons that SMEs are dissatisfied with their social media marketing is a problem with analytics.
Two-thirds (66%) of those whose businesses use Facebook admit to not using any form of analytics either because they don’t have time or it’s too complicated and hard to understand.
Among the 26% of respondents that are measuring results and success, 40% are looking for better ways to do so.
The news that small businesses use social networks for marketing and customer acquisition will come as good news to Facebook and Twitter as they have both been making efforts to lure SMEs to their ad platforms.
In January Facebook announced that it would be giving away £4.2m of free advertising to SMEs across Europe as part of its Ad Boost programme. Then in March, Twitter launched a self-serve ad platform for SMEs in partnership with American Express.
The aim for both networks is to convince SMEs to pay for advertising rather than relying on free brand pages.