A report from Zoomerang found that social media marketing for SMBs is improving, but strategic planning is needed to make efforts as effective as they could be.

Despite widespread attention directed at social networks from media and industry experts, Zoomerang recently reported a number of small- and medium-sized businesses have failed to implement social media marketing and other new tools likely to improve their businesses.

In a survey of more than 1,100 SMB decision-makers and more than 500 consumers, Zoomerang found that 86 percent of companies and 93 percent of consumers have Facebook accounts. However, the 14 percent without social media are missing out on opportunities to directly target social leads.

For those using the network for social media marketing, simply maintaining an account is not enough. Poor management of social media campaigns is almost as bad as not having an account in the first place. Nineteen percent of consumers report “un-Liking” a brand for too much or too little activity on Facebook. Marketers might find aligning social strategies with content marketing efforts is effective as it allows them to update their branded pages with links to new blog posts or articles on a moderate basis.

A disconnect also seems to exist between companies and consumers in terms of offers through social media. According to Zoomerang, 10 percent of companies consider offering various discounts through social media effective, while 37 percent of consumers say they’re more willing to Like a page if it provides a special offer.

Some companies simply refuse to offer discounts, but there are other ways to improve social media presences. Polls, surveys and direct messages are all valuable ways to draw the attention of potential customers.

“While a special discount is a powerful approach to engage, sending them messages directly or asking them their opinion via survey or poll is also a persuasive way to show that they are valued and their opinions are heard,” Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang, said in a release.

For businesses looking to improve their social campaigns, the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business found targeting users with smaller, more socially active networks is often more successful. These consumers are more likely to interact with and influence their connections, which means potentially expanding the reach of branded social content.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.