New research has revealed that paid social media activity is now a top priority for small businesses. Creating new website content and landing pages is the first priority for small businesses, with 18% citing this as their most important task, but social media advertising was a very close second in importance with 17% of SMEs saying this was their number one priority.

Social media advertising was also a second priority for an additional 17% of small businesses and a third priority for a further 16%. The findings were made in the fifth annual ‘State of Local Marketing’ report, carried out by BrandMuscle.

The third most pressing activity for SMEs was found to be events – 15% of small businesses said it was their most important priority, 11% ranked it second and 13% had it as their third priority.

In addition to paid social activity being high on the agenda, the new report also had a few surprise findings. The fourth most important area of focus for example was door-to-door direct marketing such as leaflets and flyers. 12% of small businesses said it was actually their top priority. In contrast, paid search, online display and mobile display ads were ranked bottom, in 9th, 10th and 11th places respectively.

Why are these findings notable?

Social media has traditionally been something of a struggle for small businesses to measure and justify. There has long since been the feeling that it’s hard to monetise time spent on social with many small businesses also known to find it difficult to fully get to grips with the channel and make the transition from consumer to business users. Getting posting schedules right and fighting for enough of an audience and engagement to make investment in any kind of social media presence has also shown to be problematic for smaller firms, making this swing towards ad investment all the more significant.

It’s also interesting to note that social media was only just pipped to the number one spot by the brand’s own website.

The low ranking of paid search is also somewhat surprising but, it’s worth noting here that paid social tends to favour those with very small budgets, which can make it a more attractive option than Google Ads for SMEs.

If you’re considering putting paid social media to work for your small business or need help or support on any area of your digital marketing, speak to the team here at Adrac today.