This week, we’re taking a look at a major survey of the state of social business conducted in April, 2011 by the SMB Group. Industry analyst and SMB Group principal Laurie McCabe was kind enough to walk us through the highlights of their survey, and we found some interesting comparisons.
Methodologies of their SMB Social Business Market Study were not radically different from the Social Business Benchmarking Survey (SBBS) done by Blytheco. Their study consisted of web-based surveys on a random sample of small and medium-sized businesses in 18 different industries and the non-profit sector.
However, unlike the SBBS, the SMB survey was not conducted based on functional role. They segmented results based on business size and current or future planned use of social media.
Both surveys show that companies are most comfortable with Facebook as an entry-level social media format. In the SMB Group survey, 46% of small businesses and 70% of medium-sized businesses proactively use or plan to use Facebook to engage with customers and prospects. Marketing industry participants in the Blytheco SBBS also “like” Facebook (62%) use it for awareness and branding, beating out blogs (used by 43% of marketers), YouTube (used by 33%), and private forums (used by just 24%).
Linking marketing, sales, and customer service to social media tools is important to most SMB Group survey respondents. 63% of small businesses and 75% of medium-sized businesses say that this link is very important or important to their business as well. However, these businesses say they lack the time or resources to do this. This is consistent with findings in the Blytheco SBBS – respondents throughout the survey say they plan to implement some social media in their business, but don’t have the time needed to execute the task.
An interesting characteristic of the SMB Group survey is the distinctions made between companies who are using social media in a strategic way versus “ad hoc” users who use it more casually. Not surprisingly, among other distinctions, strategic users report being more satisfied with the results they get from social media than ad hoc users.
You can read a report on the complete SMB Group survey, titled “2011 Impact of Social Business in Small and Medium Companies,” on their website, and keep up with the group and Laurie via the links below.