Smaller Businesses See Big Returns From Social Media

A new study from LinkedIn reports a strong correlation between smaller businesses that are increasing social media spending in areas such as content marketing and lead generation and those achieving what it calls 'hyper growth.'

A new study commissioned by LinkedIn reports that 81 percent of SMBs are currently using social media to drive business growth, and 94 percent are meeting marketing objectives through social media.

Nearly half of respondents say they use social networking to learn and glean insights about their industry. The study surveyed 998 SMBs in the United States and Canada and conducted by market research firm TNS on behalf of LinkedIn.

[Related: 11 Tips for Creating a Buzz-Worthy LinkedIn Company Page]

Getting Social Brings New Business

Almost three out of every five SMBs surveyed say social media helps their business gain new customers. Collectively, these companies with revenues between $1 million and $50 million accounted for a 10.7 percent year-over-year increase in marketing budgets last year, according to local advertising research and consulting firm Borrell Associates. LinkedIn's "Priming the Economic Engine" study also highlights a strong correlation between SMBs that have increased social media spending and achieved "hyper growth."

Hyper-growth companies with significant year-over-year increases in revenue -- one in six of the companies surveyed -- are among the most active in social media marketing. Of those in hyper-growth mode, 73 percent reported an increase in social media spending. Branding, word-of-mouth, content marketing and lead generation were each widely identified as the most effective use cases for social marketing.

"Through the study, we found that SMBs that are in growth mode rely heavily on social media for multiple activities in their value chain, including finding and researching financial service providers," Jennifer Grazel, category head for financial services at LinkedIn, noted in a blog post.

[Related: 5 New LinkedIn Tips for Power Users]

"Given their willingness to market their businesses and seek knowledge within social networks, financial marketers with an eye on SMBs should invest time and resources meeting them where they are. Hearing or reading about a financial services product or service on social media is likely to trigger SMB decision-makers to take further action, whether that means educating themselves, engaging in discussion or purchasing a product," Grazel says.

The businesses surveyed for LinkedIn's study also identified the most valuable social media content in terms of business insights. Industry specific news articles lead the pack, followed by testimonials, reviews and opinions from customers, clients and industry experts. Best-practice guides from other companies and news articles about relevant companies were also cited.

LinkedIn Targets Small Businesss

A new hub for small businesses from LinkedIn is designed to provide resources such as best practices and guidelines for social marketing.

The site includes playbooks for crafting profiles, sharing insights and expanding audiences. The five best practices outlined include targeting hyper-growth companies, providing a clear path to learning, taking advantage of unmet content needs, providing resources for the entire SMB value chain and building credibility for facilitating open dialogue with SMBs.

[Related: 3 New LinkedIn Features You Need to Know About]

SMBs generate $5.5 trillion in annual revenue, according to the latest data from the Dunn and Bradstreet Database cited by LinkedIn. The impact on job growth is even more profound, with seven out of every 10 new jobs being created by small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Association.

Matt Kapko covers social media for CIO.com. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattkapko. Email him at mkapko@cio.com Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook.

Read more about internet in CIO's Internet Drilldown.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in