Small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) are still struggling to figure out how social media applications can boost their business, the results of a new survey suggest. Only 19.5 percent of SMB Websites have a link to a Facebook page, and even fewer have links to popular social networking sites Twitter and LinkedIn, according to the latest data from SMB DigitalScape, the data collection and analysis engine that gauges the state of digital media and commerce among SMBs.
Developed by vSplash, SMB DigitalScape has analyzed more than 1 million SMB Websites around the world in 14 countries, including more than 700,000 in the United States. The report found six out of 10 SMB Websites in the United States are missing either a local or toll-free telephone number on the home page to contact the business, and 74.7 percent of SMB Websites lack an email link on their home page for consumers to contact the business. "Consumers are growing to expect certain levels of SoLoMo functionality," said Charles Laughlin, senior vice president and program director of research firm BIA/Kelsey. "If SMBs don't catch up with consumers, national players could gain a critical advantage over local independent providers."
In addition, 65.7 percent of SMB Websites lack a form-fill option to enable consumers to request information, and 93.3 percent of SMB Websites are not mobile-compatible and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones. "SMBs worldwide are falling behind consumers in the digital commerce arena," said Neal Polachek, an industry expert. "There's a tremendous opportunity for SMB aggregators and resellers to bridge this gap, but it will require strategic commitment and solid execution."
An earlier report from BIA/Kelsey found small business Websites are not as effective from a search engine optimization perspective as they should be in order to be found. Deficiencies found on SMB Websites include lack of meta titles, privacy policies and keywords.
About 90 percent of marketing executives surveyed use social media marketing, and three quarters believe it has a positive impact on their business. At the same time, slightly more than half (54.5 percent) of the respondents said their company's marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media. And further, 35 percent said they spend only one to five hours per week on social media marketing.