Small business owners head to Facebook in droves, setting up Facebook pages themselves or hiring firms to do it for them and purchasing advertising to promote their businesses. But according to data from a survey released today, May 20 by Manta, more than half of small business owners aren’t seeing a return on investment (ROI) from social media, and Faceb00l ROI falls short of expectations, despite the active courting by these social networks. The value just hasn’t been there, the survey found.
Facebook has been the dominant social network courting small businesses, with its free Pages feature and low-cost, targeted advertising. But according to John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, none of the social networks, Facebook included, have been able to convince small business owners to invest significantly in social media advertising. “Budget allocations indicate an atmosphere of testing among small business owners,” he said in a press release.
At this point, 59 percent of small business owners surveyed don’t see an ROI from social media – but of those that do, Facebook ROI is leading the pack for small business owners, as 53 percent of respondents rank it as the most valuable social network for their businesses. Other social networks don’t fare as well: only 15 percent of respondents found value with Google+. LinkedIn only provided 11 percent of respondents with value, while Twitter and Pinterest brought up the rear with five and two percent, respectively.
As a result, small business owners aren’t planning to increase the time they spend on social media. Compared with 49 percent in 2013, only 34 percent plan to increase their time on social media. They’re still setting goals, though: 37 percent of small businesses are aiming for new customer acquisition; 17 percent plan to raise awareness of their business; and 15 percent want to generate leads and referrals.
For SMBs, social media may yield results, but as the survey shows, those results aren’t evident yet.