Amongst the products that are no longer being manufactured in the United States are more hours in the day or, more days in the week, for that matter. And that is seen a barrier to small business owners fully exploiting the internet marketing advantages of social media.
Excluding pure internet marketing companies (which are presumably all over the use of social media sites to promote their business), small businesses in the U.S. are increasingly aware of the importance and potential of social media marketing, but the lack of time, their own inertia and uncertainty about how to effectively tap into the marketing potential of social media sites are a prime barrier holding them back from fully adopting the new media.
BusinessWire.com reports that, “Social media marketing is growing among small businesses . . . but true breakout growth in this category is being challenged by (small business) owner inertia”.
Dissecting a newly released AMI Partners’ study U.S. Small Business Marketing Marketing Activity and Spending Study: Where and How U.S. Small Businesses are Spending Marketing Dollars – BusinessWire points out that most small business marketing decisions, are made by owners who are already weighed down with multiple management responsibilities and, thus, are unable to devote the time, resources and effort it takes to explore and engage with the new media. Traditional media therefore remains a more-or-less “automatic” marketing fall-back position for small business owners.
As a result of such multi-tasking overload, “factors like variable costs, lack of understanding and the need for proactive management act as hindrances to widespread adoption” of social media as a marketing vehicle. Small businesses’ social media inertia is not a matter of indifference, but more an issue of time and resource allocation.
The prolonged economic recession hit small businesses particularly hard. Because of this, overall small business “marketing activity in 2010 was down in comparison to levels in 2007,” according to AMI Partners, vice president, Don Best. “The greatest declines were in print, broadcast and outdoor media advertising,” he points out, while “conversely, online media experienced an incline.”
The rise in Internet marketing expenditures amid a general decline in overall advertising revenue is a strong indicator of the interest that small business has in the new media. Now, if they only had the time. “As the popularity of search and social sites continues to magnify among their customers,” notes Mr. Best, “AMI expects U.S. (small businesses) to become much more strategic concerning their online marketing activities, including social media.”
As BusinessWire points out, given that there are roughly 6.3 million small businesses in the U.S., “this presents significant opportunities for vendors that can offer these (small business) decision makers tools to better utilize the web for marketing.”
[NOTE: Ironically, BusinessWire is owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway investment fund. One of Buffet’s earliest investment strategies – after buying the eponymous towel manufacturer that gave Berkshire Hathaway its name – was buying up local newspapers, realizing that newspaper advertising was, then, a cash cow.]
Photo by: katie weilbacher