Study Highlights Social Media’s Prominence In Small-Business Marketing

Social media is capturing a large share of small-businesses marketing efforts. A study by Ripl, a provider of small-business mobile marketing software, found that U.S. small businesses rank their self-published posts to social media higher in importance than emails, digital and real-world advertising, and their own websites for both attracting new customers and engaging existing customers.

"We were frankly surprised by how high social media network publishing and digital advertising ranked in comparison to websites, email and other forms of non-digital advertising for acquiring new customers,” says Clay McDaniel, Ripl's COO. "These results show how focused small businesses have become on managing their own marketing activities and being able to evaluate results themselves."

The study found that Facebook and Instagram were small businesses’ top channels for communicating with customers. It found that 98 percent use Facebook and 82 percent use Instagram, compared with e-mail at 65 percent.

Ripl found that small businesses were also frugal with their marketing investments, and most spent $100 or less per month on marketing software tools and online advertising. More than half of the businesses surveyed indicated that they spend nothing on mailings, coupons, print and other local advertising. Surveyed on the primary strategic goal of their marketing efforts, respondents ranked building new customer awareness first (39 percent) with driving customer traffic to their website or store ranked second (32 percent). Only 18 percent of respondents answered that staying top-of-mind with existing customers was their top marketing priority.

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