Small Businesses Measure Social Success The Right Way: New Customers

Filed in Social Media, Statistics by Matt McGee on January 24, 2012 5 Comments

This was a pleasure and relief to see: In a new report about small businesses and social media, SMBs listed “new customers” as their most important metric for measuring the success of social media marketing.


Here’s a look at the chart from Borrell Associates, which is based on a survey of almost 4,300 small businesses last year.


My fear was that “getting more fans/followers” would be the top response to that question … but it came in No. 2, which is still too high, but at least it’s a distant second to something that actually moves the bottom line: acquiring new customers.

(As I’ve said before, the amount of fans or followers you have doesn’t really matter. Facebook doesn’t issue a check each month based on how many fans you have. Twitter doesn’t, either.)

The Borrell report also includes some interesting stats about social media adoption among small business owners: 64.4 percent claim to have a social media presence now, and Borrell estimates 80 percent will have a social media presence by end of 2012.

As you’d expect, Facebook was cited as the most used social networking site, with blogs and Twitter far behind.


According to the report, 77 percent of auto dealers and 66 percent of retail businesses say they have a social media presence. The small businesses surveyed collectively say they plan to spend 13.7 percent of their 2012 online advertising budgets on social media — about double the amount from 2011, Borrell says.

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  1. Chris Lane says:

    We’ve just started to scratch the surface using social media for our business and plan to make that a stronger area of focus in the coming year. “New customers” from our social media presence is a top success metric for us as well and is certainly the end result we’d expect to see come out of an increase of fans and followers. This information is a good reminder that social media usage by small businesses only continues to grow. Thanks!

  2. Judy Caroll says:

    Thanks for the stats and also for the nudge. Good to see how companies are realizing the importance of social media marketing in bringing new customers. We’re also leveraging this free tool and we’ll see how far we can go. Thanks again.

  3. Sasha Jones says:

    These stats will increasingly grow and in a near feature social media activities will be standard for small businesses

  4. Colin says:

    How can I get more exposure for my small business on line? What do you suggest I do?

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