More than half of all small businesses use social media, a recent survey shows. But most small businesses still don’t see social media as a necessity, research agency eMarketer reports.
Small- and medium-size businesses are rapidly beginning to use social media because it's a cost-effective and easy-to-use marketing channel that can boost customer acquisition. But only 12 percent of small-business decision leaders responding to a survey by insurance provider Hiscox said that they considered it a "must."
That franchise designation belongs to word of mouth . Half of the Hiscox respondents said the marketing tool they couldn't do without was word of mouth, eMarketer reported. Just 4 percent said the same about social media, even though the primary goal of most social media marketing is to create word-of-mouth.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents said word of mouth was the main way they got businesses, while another 42 percent said they used word of mouth in tandem with other marketing promotions. Social media can work as a word-of-mouth amplifier, giving customers a wider voice for their recommendations that extends beyond their immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues.
Among small businesses using social media for marketing, Facebook was the most popular tool and was considered to be the most effective at growing and expanding the business. LinkedIn was the runner-up.