Social media continues to be a key part of small business online marketing strategies.
The 2012 SEO and Internet Marketing survey by SEOmoz and Hubspot shows nearly three-quarters of marketers have noted increased demand for social media services over the last year.
Other hot topics include SEO and local SEO, which 71 per cent and 65 per cent of marketers have noticed a rise in demand for, while more people are also looking for content marketing providers and analytics services.
In a blog post for Hubspot, SEOmoz's Dr Peter Meyers noted that social media actions topped the list of online marketing tactics too.
Social media and inbound marketing
Setting up a Facebook business page was the most popular inbound marketing activity performed by respondents to the survey, followed by setting up a business page on Google+.
While the jury is still out on the value of Google+ in small business social media strategies, the network is the third most used among marketers, behind Facebook and Twitter. YouTube and LinkedIn complete the top five.
RadiumOne.com managing director Rupert Staines said last week that while Google+ is seeing increased uptake, the same is happening with social media channels across the board. "They all have massive growth in a global sense," he noted.
Three things to consider about Google+ marketing
So should small businesses jump to set up a Google+ business page? The short answer is "perhaps". There are three key factors to consider before investing resources in another social media network.
The first is to find out whether your target audience is present on Google+ and, more importantly, are they engaged? If you were to reach out to people on Google+, is it likely they will respond and interact?
Secondly, small businesses need to know what works on Google+ and what does not. So far, it seems visual content attracts higher levels of engagement than plain text, so organisations should consider whether they have the right type of content to share on the platform.
Finally, as with any online marketing activity, a strategy is needed that is not only most likely to help a business achieve its goals, but also one that fits the available resources. Even though it is free to join most social networks, ongoing activity and engagement require an investment of resources – and if businesses do not have that available, they may be better off focusing on fewer platforms but using them to their maximum potential.
The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012 is a free webinar run by Hubspot and presented by SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin. He will discuss the survey results in more detail tonight at 18:00 BST.