Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here.

Recently, we surveyed 1,009 senior decision makers of UK small businesses (1 to 49 employees) to find out how they were using social media marketing to grow their business.

We found some surprising results!

The data shows savvy UK small businesses are finding success with Facebook, attracting new customers, and generating repeat sales, but there was a strong disconnect between British small businesses’ perception of social media marketing success and the reality.

We wanted to find out where these misconceptions were stemming from and put them into perspective. Here’s what we found:

Small businesses use Engagement Marketing without even knowing it

We found that many British small businesses had misconceptions about what social media marketing success looks like—especially when their own results show they are doing a fantastic job using Facebook to drive customer engagement, find new customers, and generate repeat sales.

Of those organisations who use Facebook in some way:

  • 42% of UK SMBs are engaging with fans by responding to posts on their Facebook Timeline (Tweet this)
  • 59% of UK SMBs post updates about products and services on their Facebook Timeline (Tweet this)
  • 15% of UK SMBs ask people to “Like” their Page to get vouchers and offers (Tweet this)
  • 14% of UK SMBs answer customer service issues (Tweet this)
  • 9% of UK SMBs conduct polls or ask questions (Tweet this)

The reality: British small businesses are using Engagement Marketing to their benefit without even realising it. Responding to fans, asking questions, and “Like-gating” content or offers are all great ways to boost interaction with your fans. The best part for time-starved small businesses is that doing these things takes just a few minutes a day.

Small businesses overestimate what’s needed for success

The survey also revealed a huge misconception around evaluating the success of engagement tactics. Of those willing to hazard a guess, a fifth of respondents whose small business use Facebook (23%) believe success equates to achieving more than 500 shares, comments, or likes on a single post.

The reality: It takes far less to find success, and more than half (52%) of respondents who reported knowing how many likes, shares, or comments their posts usually get are achieving fantastic results for their business by generating up to ten likes, shares, or comments on each Facebook Page post.

Measurement continues to plague resource-starved small businesses

Measurement may be one reason that small businesses are dissatisfied with their social media marketing results. Two thirds (66%) of those whose businesses use Facebook admit to not using any form of analytics, because they don’t have time, it’s too complicated, or it’s too hard to understand.

Another reason may be a lack of integration with other marketing tactics. While 31% of those whose businesses use Facebook report they promote their other social networks on their Facebook Page, half (49%) said they do not integrate Facebook activities with email marketing.

The reality: Small businesses might have limited time to market their business, but it’s important that they think about “and” rather than “or.” While both social media marketing and email marketing can drive great results independently, the magic really happens when you combine the two, using each tactic’s strengths to generate the biggest impact possible. Those who aren’t integrating their efforts are missing a big opportunity.

Easy ways to integrate the two channels include:

  • Include share buttons within email
  • Link to Facebook content from email newsletters
  • Use a sign-up, or “Join My Mailing List,” form on Facebook to collect email addresses
  • Ask Facebook fans to sign up for email newsletters and vice versa
  • Ask email newsletter subscribers to Like them on Facebook

Our latest small business survey shows that there is a clear gap in understanding when it comes to recognising the impressive benefits social media marketing can bring—and indeed are already bringing—to small businesses across Britain.

Have you used social media marketing successfully to grow your business? Tell us how in the comments below.