Facebook Most Effective Social Marketing Channel for SMBs (But They Want Social Media Help)

Filed in Social Media, Statistics by Matt McGee on August 21, 2012 2 Comments

facebook_logoFacebook is overwhelmingly the most effective social media marketing channel for small businesses, with exponentially more saying it’s better than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and all other social networks.

The numbers come from the Constant Contact Small Business Pulse survey, which had replies from 728 small business and non-profit participants in April-May 2012. To get a sense of what kinds of businesses replied, consider that 74 percent of respondents have 10 or fewer employees.

Overall, respondents listed email marketing as their most effective marketing activity — 83 percent listed it as an effective channel, and both B2C and B2B companies did so in very similar amounts. Next most effective was their own website, with 71 percent citing it as an effective marketing tool. (Maybe the other 29 percent should work on that? #justsayin)

Only 49 percent rated Social Media as an effective activity (56 percent B2C and 38 percent B2B). Within the social media space, the vast majority of respondents listed Facebook as the most effective channel — light years more than listed all other primary social networks.


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That chart’s pretty stunning. What I’d love to hear from some of the respondents is how they define their own success/effectiveness on Facebook. There was a Borrell survey earlier this year which showed that 57 percent of SMBs measure success by getting new customers, which is how they should be doing it.

In the bigger picture, though, social media remains a challenge for small business owners. In this Constant Contact survey, 59 percent of respondents listed it as a marketing activity that they need help with — much higher than email marketing (40 percent) and their website (30 percent).


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When it comes to marketing in general, 29 percent said they’re increasing their budgets in 2012, and only 12 percent are decreasing.

You can find the survey download link from Constant Contact’s news release.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mike Wilton says:

    I definitely agree with you Matt, I would love to see what these businesses define success/effectiveness. I think because a lot of businesses focus on the “Like” as a metric many of them may see it as a more successful channel, when their engagement levels may be slim to none. I almost wonder if they chose Facebook because it is a network most SMB’s have been quickest to adopt and partially understand.

    I personally have found that clients see a lot of benefit from Yelp, mostly in that it creates a better point of engagement with reviews and often times drives greater traffic to their websites than even Facebook sometimes.

    Regardless, this study brings up some interesting data and definitely tells the story of where SMB’s are at with their views on social media.

  2. Matt:

    I wasn’t totally surprised to see these results given that Facebook is as common as email to the average Joe these days. The other networks, on the other hand, are either still too new (Pinterest) or just too “geeky” for small businesses to wrap their arms around (Google+ and Twitter).

    Even with Facebook, though, I have yet to work with a client that understands how to use it effectively. Most have a business page and that’s about it. My guess is most businesses still aren’t generating a lot of new customers from Facebook – even if they say it’s effective as they are likely gauging their success by the number of Likes or comments they’re getting.

    Travis Van Slooten

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