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If your social media ads haven’t been performing as well as anticipated, a new study published by CEB and Radius might have the answer. Small business owners who have been slow to join the social media train are finally jumping aboard. However, marketers aren’t making the most of this new constituent of targets.

The study found that small business owners cite social media adoption as a high priority in 2015 — providing an essential channel to reach this business target. And B2B marketers have readily demonstrated their willingness to open their pocketbooks for social media advertising.

Facebook, for instance, continues to drive brands towards its paid solutions. On the tail end of an algorithm change that made it harder for marketers to achieve organic reach, Facebook announced a 61% surge in revenue. Facebook recently added even more restrictions to News Feed content posted by brands, which forces brands to pay ever greater sums to reach their audience on the social network.

However, small businesses are still largely ignoring the content and ads that B2B marketers are posting on social media.

CEB’s 2014 Social Media Report pinpoints the three top reasons small business owners ignore suppliers on social media:

Your content is boring.

80% of marketers are posting the same helpful small business tips and tricks on social channels, but only 25% of small business owners are interested in reading this type of content.

To stand out to small business owners, marketers will have to move beyond standard listicle tips and general business best practices. Only a minority of small business owners even want this type of content on social media, so while it might be easy to produce, most small business owners aren’t interested in reading it.

You’re not offering enough deals.

Main street merchants may not want your tips and tricks articles, but they definitely want your deals. The majority of small business owners cited that if they could see any type of content from suppliers on social media, they’d want to see more deals. CEB also reported that though owners seek discounts, they don’t just buy the cheapest option possible; rather, they prefer to buy the best they can afford. This finding suggests that small business owners are more likely to hunt for deals on products they already love than search for cheaper alternatives.

clipart_bubble_32Learn more about how to reach small business owners on social media — download the full report.

You’re not segmenting effectively.

Only 32% of marketers mine social media data to find new opportunities. Worse yet, only 4% of marketers gather owner data for lead generation purposes. This means that marketers aren’t using social media data about small business prospects to target advertisements on social channels.


Facebook offers a great targeting tool, but if marketers aren’t targeting pre-defined prospects in segments with a high likelihood to perform, they’re not using Facebook to its highest potential. You could rely on organic social posts or paid ads solely to generate new leads, or you could nurture a targeted audience with content and ads you know will resonate– such as the deal offers small business owners covet. Imagine running a deal offer to an audience of prospects who had refused to buy your products because of price. That’s smart marketing, and it’s not something a lot of companies are doing.

New access to data allows us to unearth historically elusive insights about the small business economy, and CEB’s 2014 Social Media Study implies that marketers remain out of touch with their small business prospects.

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