Small & medium business owners (SMB), what are you doing? A new Local Search Association study indicates that 71% of you that manage digital marketing do it internally!!! Where do you find the time to do it yourself— and do it correctly?

(The LSA is an international not-for-profit industry association of media companies, agencies and technology providers that helps businesses market to local consumers.)

I say “do it correctly” because in an accompanying Infographic for that LSA study, there are not one, not two, but three other fact-sets which indicate you most certainly do require assistance in retaining customers. Customer retention is one of your primary goals for participating in social media, correct?

SMB state of marketingThen why is it that the LSA study shows only 44% of you monitor social media feedback about your businesses? You talk to customers, but aren’t interested in hearing customer responses?

Why bother dealing so up close & personal with customers if you’re not interested in keeping them?

And you do wish to keep them. They are money in the bank.

In a Bain & Company Customer Loyalty Study it was determined that, for example, in apparel, ”the average repeat customer spent 67% more in months 31-36 of his or her shopping relationship than in months zero-to-six.”

And that is not a one market segment aberration. In groceries, “customers spent 23% more in months 31-36 than in months zero-to-six.”

Customers want, for lack of a better term, a business partnership with you. They want to feel like part of the team. To know what is going on. To be asked for opinions. And the reward is sales.

You need to optimize social media properly to engage with these customers.

That brings me to the 2nd LSA fact-set item: small businesses use 7.8 marketing channels to promote themselves. Let’s repeat that, 7.8? Not every platform is right for every business. Again, where do you find the time to properly manage 7.8 marketing channels?

This study & Infographic from the Local Search Association indicates that obviously not all SMBs “get it.” And that is distressing, given one of LSA’s key conclusions is that “marketing is a critical component to success for SMBs given consumer behavior and adoption of digital tech.”

One wonders then, why the LSA study shows only 48% of small biz websites are mobile ready? Any Social Media Manager, Strategist, Guru would advise those of you in the non-mobile remaining 52% that because a cell phone is now the preferred online searching and communication digital tech device, your social media messages are therefore not going where your customers are.

Customer retention obviously does not always benefit from the do it yourself approach of small business owners. The smarter move is to let a social media manager or consultant do what he or she does best: devise a targeted engagement package which will make customers feel like partners and drive retention levels up.

This leaves you to time to focus on core areas of your business. Considering the survey also indicates that 54% of US sales happen at a Small Business, you would want to personally make sure your company is producing the best product or service it can, in order to give consumers a reason to be your customers in the first place.

(Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow