By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Canadian company Little Dragon Media recently surveyed 500 small business owners and asked: “What part of your company’s digital marketing do you struggle with the most?” The survey discovered that “Getting fans and followers on social media” was the most popular response, overthrowing SEO.

Female business owners struggle with social media, while their male counterparts struggle with SEO more.

“The results were a bit surprising to me,” states Amine Rahal, CEO of Little Dragon Media. “When we launched the survey, I assumed that most businesses would choose SEO as being the hardest, since it can take years to rank high organically on search engines, especially in competitive niches.”

“Ranking high on search engines” was the second most popular option, measuring at 26.2%. Blogging came in third at 19.4%.

Reputation management swept in fourth swallowing up 13.4% of the survey pie, and “Finding a trustworthy agency to help us” came in last place measuring at 11%, suggesting that this was a non-issue for many businesses.

Social media marketing’s lead over SEO signals that small business owners today highly value social media community development. They also show signs of struggle in efforts to figure out how to get the best results when compared to SEO, an established digital marketing service which is now also influenced by social media community development.

According to Rahal, survey results show how social media has swept into the forefront of the overall digital marketing landscape.

Says survey moderator Monica Guan, “In the current digital era, having a strong social media presence and ranking on Google are the best and low-cost ways to reach your local audience. Just by the fact that business owners are struggling with these aspects show that they do realise the importance of these factors to their business, but may not have the know-how to succeed in these areas.”

55.7% female small business owners report social media community development being the most difficult struggle when compared to their male counterparts who reported at 44.3%.

Guan says, “Female business owners may care more for the social media of their business and sees it as a priority that needs to be improved on. This shows that not only do many business owners require more education about how to use their social media and gain more fans and followers, but more education to male business owners on the importance of social media to their business.”

The full survey is here.