The survey of 546 SMBs (defined in the report as companies with 1 to 99 employees) found businesses spent 21.4% of their total media budgets on average on social media in the past 12 months.
Three-quarters (74.5%) of SMBs reported using social media to promote their businesses in some way in the past year—again, more than any other category of media.
The report was based on data from the Local Commerce Monitor—an ongoing survey of SMBs in the United States that tracks 35 different channels used for advertising and promotion. The media/platforms examined include online, traditional, mobile, local coupons, social, video, broadcast, local directories, giveaway items, and community sponsorships.
Overall, Facebook dominates SMB social media usage, with 55.1% of businesses surveyed saying they have a Facebook page for business use, and 20% percent reporting they have run a Facebook ad or promoted post.
Other social platforms respondents reported using frequently to promote their businesses include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
About the research: The report was based on data from Wave 18 (3Q14) of the Local Commerce Monitor—an ongoing survey of small and midsize businesses. The survey was conducted in July 2014 and had 546 respondents.
COMMENTARY: A survey of 600 small business owners across the United States indicates that 90% are actively engaged in social networking sites and 74% perceive social networking as valuable — if not more valuable — than networking in-person.
When 42% of owners say that 25% of new customers discovered them through sites such as Facebook and Foursquare, it is crucial that your business is online and social.
But the news is not all merry, as 58% of surveyed owners said they struggle with promoting their Facebook pages — if they have a page at all.
The takeaway is clear. You need to be where your customers are. Forget what your competitors are doing, as their customers are different from your customers. You also need to integrate internet communications into your normal routine of business networking.
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