We have talked a lot about the small business social media benefits that can be enjoyed by having an effective presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other networking sites.
Yesterday, we highlighted the use of Facebook and Twitter by Domino's Pizza UK in promoting cheap lunchtime food, where for every #letsdolunch tweeted, the price of a Pepperoni Passion pizza fell.
Facebook also recently announced its new brand pages, which include features that allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to move to the Timeline and pin stories to the top of a page for up to a week.
However, a new study has revealed that the mere presence of a social media button on a brand's website can influence buying decisions. With sites such as Twitter having a strong impact on shopping behaviour, SMEs that do not correctly use social media will miss out on benefits including higher sales and bolstered customer engagement.
"Marketers should be aware that the placement of these symbols in their web design strategy could have a major impact on buying behaviour," said assistant professor of marketing at the Miami School of Business Claudia Townsend.
A study conducted by the university, StyleCaster Media Group and Empirica Research found the placement of Facebook 'like' buttons and Twitter tabs is essential to a successful online marketing strategy.
Social media buttons placed next to certain products can increase or decrease the likelihood of people making a purchase.
For example, if located next to an 'embarrassing' item, shoppers are less likely to place that in their basket than products they do not mind 'showing off' about.
Getting small business social media right
The study discovered that people were 25 per cent more likely to purchase a desirable item if there was a Facebook or Twitter icon next to it. Similarly, consumers were 25 per cent less likely to buy a less desirable product if these symbols were found nearby.
SMEs should keep this in mind when drawing up social media strategies. Depending on the nature of a business, a brand's social media presence can be loud or discreet – whichever their customers would prefer.
Using the social media and content marketing services of ContentPlus can help small businesses that need guidance on how best to use Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
After all, striking the right balance is important to make a positive online marketing impact.
How have you tailored your social media presence to your customers?