Full props to Marketing Techblog for conducting this survey, which has an admittedly modest sample -- but it demonstrates how social media is delivering visible payback for businesses that stick with the model.
70% of respondents said they saw lead generation from social media, and 6% of sales were in some way connected to social. So the results are there, and they're encouraging.
The usual caveats apply: social media marketing (SMM) isn't going to save a suck business, can absorb a great deal of time if you're not judicious about how you're using it, and requires a long-term investment of time and coordination.
But business owners seem to increasingly recognize how their competition are upping their own efforts in mining the social Web for results, so they've got to stay abreast.
It helps that this survey was conducted by a competent agency among its satisfied clients, which points to the fact that a small marketer is probably going to benefit from the investment they make in professional help in staging an effective social campaign.
Yet. Even if they'd rather go it alone, the upside is too significant to ignore.
Why SMM is perfect for SMBs
SMBs are uniquely positioned to get the most advantage from social media marketing. They're accustomed to developing and maintaining relationships with customers and their communities on a more eye-to-eye level. Social media is just a logical extension of what they've been doing for years.
The tools to launch and manage social media campaigns are only going to get more prevalent, affordable and easy to use, as app developers flourish. A lot of the business intelligence and analytics an SMB currently has to pay to get from an agency or consultant will be available at a mouseclick -- probably for free, or for a negligible amount.
By getting into the social media groove right now, small businesses will be laying the groundwork for taking advantage of those channels as they become more and more pervasive, localized and personalized.
By using those tools the right way, anyone who's hung out their own small shingle will have reason to believe they'll someday be a not-so-small business.