In a new study published by eMarketer states that brands believe websites, social media marketing and email are the most important digital marketing elements for effective local marketing. 78% stated that social media marketing is important or essential. Those statistics alone are quite dramatic, but if we spend some time looking into the data a bit deeper, some very revealing trends appear.
The biggest irony within the study shows that only 25% of those same respondents planned to prioritize social media marketing in their digital marketing efforts. Wait a second… 78% said it was important or essential, yet only 25% were going to prioritize it. That was astounding to read, wasn’t it?
The report goes further to explain that 80% of brands expected to maintain or increase their digital marketing spend for local marketing in the coming years.
The report does not get into the details of why the massive disparity between deeming social media marketing essential for local businesses and the lack of prioritizing it at a similar level. Being very experienced in local, national and international social media marketing, we thought we would outline some of the reasons we believe this may be the case.
Why aren’t local brands adding social media marketing as a priority, though they believe it’s essential?
1) Budget – Many of these same local brands are already tight financially. They’re often spending money on a lot of “old school” yellow page and direct mail marketing without tracking the results. Often the belief is that they need to continue doing those things or their situation will decline even more.
A thoughtful evaluation of these mediums, outdated email marketing efforts and other digital optimization requirements can show areas where costs can be reduced or eliminated and where funds can be reallocated to social media and an overall digital upgrade. In today’s world for most SMB’s, these are the things that begin to make a growth impact on their business.
2) Knowledge – If you are an SMB that realizes the importance of social media marketing, yet you don’t have the knowledge or experience to do it, that can paralyze you from taking any action, let alone making it a priority. You don’t have a strategy, plan to execute it even if you did have a strategy, or any base of knowledge that would enable you to do it effectively anyway.
Enter the consultant…
3) “Consultants” – So you’re a small business owner that recognized you needed a presence on social media some time back while it was beginning to rise in the news, with users and then with big brands. You had no idea how to do it but a social media expert/consultant was doing a presentation at the local networking group meeting and you decided to pay the $100 to attend.
After listening to all the information they presented, you realized you still couldn’t do this alone and needed help, so you took the expert’s business card and called for an appointment. They pitch you on setting up your social media accounts, making a strategy, consulting and training so you could be really effective.
$800 and 6 months later you are overwhelmed, frustrated and feel like you had been mugged. You aren’t getting anywhere on real results, have spent time and money you don’t have to spare and the consultant is now offering additional training services they’d like you to invest in.
Sound familiar to anyone? I hear this every single day from unsuspecting business owners. It’s no wonder they are not making it a priority.
For a large percentage of small to medium local brands, these factors are a reality. They know their industry and business, not something new and ever-changing like social media marketing. They want and need to focus on what they know and don’t have the time, resources or ability to add another item to their plate. Most simply need a clearly defined reason as to why they need to make it a priority, coupled with a cost-effective solution that handles it for them with the least amount of time required on their part. They are willing to pay for professional help that will get results and enable them to focus on their business.
If you’re a business owner that fits into the statistics outlined in this report, I suggest that you find a social media professional that understands what is detailed here and will take the time to consult you through these points to discover cost reduction opportunities. They will also be able to propose a total social media management solution that gets results for you so you can focus on what you are good at.