Home > Why Every ECP Practice Needs A Social Media Presence

Why Every ECP Practice Needs A Social Media Presence

by Bob Main - Web Presence Coach/Consultant
Published Aug 2014

The data is clear, small businesses (like yours) are starting to recognize the importance of using social media to grow their business. Studies show a sharp increase in the number of small firms on social media and it is helping them grow their business. What are you doing with social media to grow your optical business?

Several years ago, a study by the Hiscox Group found only 12% of small business owners "described social media promotion as a must and nearly 50% weren't using social media at all."

Fast forward to now- A marketing study by Vocus and Duct Tape Marketing now finds that for 77% of small and medium-size businesses (or SMBs), social media accounts for 25% or more of total marketing efforts.

That change may explain another data point: Some research by Constant Contact found that social media is the No. 1 marketing activity that small businesses need help with. (Survey respondents also said that social media was the fourth most effective marketing activity for their organizations, with Facebook as the most effective tool.)

Here are some of the findings from the Vocus/Duct Tape research:

Small Business Perceptions of Social Media

Here is what business owners believe about social media:

  • Value: 58% of respondents said that social media was somewhat helpful to their organization but that it's hard work--you get out of it what you put into it.
  • Size matters: 40% of prefer a smaller but highly engaged audience; 27% would prefer a huge following with little engagement. Also, the larger the organization, the greater the role of social media in their marketing mix.)
  • Cost matters: The perception that social media is "free" is the most prominent barrier to SMBs use of social media.

Usage Data

A few interesting nuggets emerged in the way small firms are using social media.

  • Which platform? Facebook still garners top honors with 73% of SMB usage, but the study makes the interesting claim that just 7% plan to use it in the future--migrating instead to Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • Tools & teams: On average, SMBs use three different software tools to manage social media and spend $845 per month doing so. To execute social media, most SMBs just add to the plate of an existing marketing person/team.
  • Sector differences: SMBs use social media differently and with different expectations depending on their sector (business-to-business wants higher engagement; consumer-facing firms want broader audience, etc.). Most use it first to share company news.

Future Outlook

The Vocus/Duct Tape Marketing study concludes that 84% of SMBs plan to increase their spend on social media, mainly because 78% said social media "has helped a great deal."

In addition to investing more in social media, future plans include using more social media sites, sharing more, engaging more, hiring more help and spending more time on and in social media.

So what are your plans for social media. ECPs in our industry, as a general rule, have not embraced social media. As you can see, the data is clear; social media is helping other businesses like yours. Don’t let this quiet paradigm shift pass you by. Develop your online strategy today and start growing your practice by using the power of the internet and social media.

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