1 in 3 Small Businesses Don’t Think Being Active on Social Media Matters

Enplug

Image Source: Enplug via Facebook

LOS ANGELES – In the age of social media, new research from Enplug finds that one in three (34%) American small business owners don’t think social media is important to their business – despite that more than half (57%) of consumers say they would be somewhat or very influenced to think more positively about a business after seeing praise online via social media (or review sites such as Yelp).

In an effort to uncover customer opinions on social media and small business, Enplug commissioned independent firm YouGov to poll American small business owners and customers on their social media habits. The research ultimately found that small businesses and customers aren’t on the same page, with small businesses severely underestimating how much customers value, and trust, social media. One in three (36%) small businesses with social media pages never even respond to customer comments – despite customers having a penchant for sharing positive comments (one in seven customers only share positive reviews on social media).

“In a world where communication is increasingly conducted on social networks, it’s clear small businesses have a prime opportunity to reach their customers more effectively, and more immediately, than ever before,” said Nanxi Liu, CEO of Enplug. “In fact, it’s now a consumer expectation that not only can they learn about a business on social media, but that they can talk with the business – whether it’s to troubleshoot a problem or simply give praise.”

The most significant key findings from the research include:

  • One in three (36%) small businesses don’t maintain a social media presence where customers can comment: Despite customers wanting to share positive reviews online (one in seven customers said they only share positive customer experiences on social media via statuses or photos), one-third of small businesses don’t provide them with a place to post.
  • One in eight (13%) consumers are more likely to post/share a positive review if the business highlights or promotes it in real-time on-premises or social media: It’s clear customers value social media, but small businesses haven’t caught up to them. One in three small businesses (36%) don’t engage with customers who post about their business, even though one in eight (13%) consumers are more likely to post/share a positive review if a business highlights or promotes their review in real-time on premises or social media.
  • 80 percent of Snapchat users would be somewhat or very influenced to think more positively about a business that had positive comments or recommendations on social media/Yelp: More than half (52%) of American adults use multiple social media sites, a significant increase from the 42% reported in 2013. For small businesses, finding the right combination of platforms can be a severe challenge. Small businesses should note that an overwhelming majority of Snapchat users (80%) would be influenced to think more positively about a business after viewing positive customer comments online.
    • Additional social media users who would be influenced to think more positively about a business after viewing positive customer comments online, broken down by social network:
      • Facebook Users – 63%
      • Twitter Users – 66%
      • LinkedIn Users – 65%
      • Pinterest Users – 70%
      • Instagram Users – 76%

The most significant key findings for the hospitality industry include:

  • One in six (16%) hospitality businesses don’t think customers comments and reviews on social media are very or at all important.
  • One in four (28%) hospitality businesses don’t provide a social media outlet for customers to comment.
  • One in three (33%) hospitality businesses that provide an outlet for customers only sometimes respond.

“We advocate for the use of social media by small businesses because it’s proven to improve relationships between small businesses and their customers,” said Liu. “Enplug has seen first-hand how the use of social media, whether on a digital display in an establishment or on a mobile device, can influence what customers think about a small business.”

Research Methodology

Enplug commissioned YouGov Plc—a third party, professional research and consulting organization—to poll the views of a representative sample of 506 American small business owners and 1,155 consumers. Fieldwork was undertaken between February 27, 2015 – March 2, 2015. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+). The research was carried out online.