One of the most gratifying things about building the Ripl business is the opportunity to learn from small businesses and organizations all over the world. I know I speak for the entire team here when I say that we love our customers and admire their constant optimism and ambition. We truly believe that starting and growing a private business is one of the most powerful things that a person can do to realize their dreams in life.
Some companies are content to rely on assumptions, anecdotes or third-party reports to try to understand their target customers. This is not our approach. We seek to learn as much as we can about small business operators as innovators, as marketers, and as people. For this reason, we invest a lot of time conducting our own research.
Here at Ripl we try to practice a complete commitment to customer empathy. Every employee at Ripl receives every single piece of Customer Feedback that is sent to us via any channel. This forces everyone to stay mindful - every single day - of what we still need to improve. We conduct regular individual customer interviews. We conduct focus groups with small businesses who aren't our customers (yet!), so that we can hear about their experiences and learn about their pain points with digital and social media marketing. We perform user testing on new mobile app features and we ask our Facebook Group for input on service updates we're considering. We ask the small business owners and proprietors in our lives to try Ripl and tell us their impressions of what works and what needs improvement. Many of us have side hustles, non-profits, and passion projects for which we use Ripl ourselves. [And, yes, we also voraciously seek out and consume third-party research about every aspect of the small business experience. We're looking at you, Ripl Competitors... we admit a couple of you have published some truly insightful research reports lately. We hope you'll keep it up. Empathy and innovation emerge from understanding, and we are all in the business of helping millions of ambitious business-people grow and succeed.]
As part of our constant customer and marketplace research efforts, we also perform a comprehensive Ripl customer satisfaction and general Small Business Social Media Marketing Trends Survey every three months. These Surveys have two main goals: (1) Inform our ongoing Ripl product and service development efforts; and, (2) Understand the bigger picture of current small business marketing activities in the U.S. and globally.
Earlier this year, we published the first quarter's Research Findings Report and Infographic from our Survey in an effort to share a few of the interesting insights and findings more broadly. The response was very positive so we're continuing the effort this Quarter and into the future.
We are therefore pleased to release our most recent Report: the Q2 2017 U.S. Small Business Social Media Marketing Research Survey white paper. This time, we elected to focus on the subset of respondents with very small businesses (sole proprietors and those with less than 10 total employees) based in the United States. Once again, our Survey response rate was very high so we were pleased to have more than 350 results for this respondent subset to filter and summarize.
We hope that you find the Infographic below and the accompanying Q2 2017 U.S. Small Business Social Media Marketing white paper Report useful. We recognize that there may be some answer bias in our results, given the fact that we use Ripl user contact information to request participation and an online Survey to capture the answers. However, we believe that the trends related to digital and social media activity as well as marketing expenditure and strategic priorities are directionally accurate and provide insights into the "state of small business marketing" today.
Please feel free to share any of the findings below, including the Infographic and Report, with those who may find it interesting.
Thank you and warm regards from all of us at Ripl!