Three-Quarters of Small Businesses Utilize Social Media
These days the talk surrounding social media isn’t always so cheery. Whether it’s complaints of harassment, foreign influence, censorship, or good old “fake news,” it may seem that the tide may be turning for these powerful platforms. At the same time it’s hard to argue that these outlets have been anything but a boon to small business — which is likely why so many business owners report using them.
According to a new study from SCORE 77% of small business utilize social media for marketing, customer service, and sales. Meanwhile 69% of adults in the U.S. report using at least one social media network. That’s up significantly from 2014 when 64% said the same and is obviously leaps and bounds ahead of 2006 when only 11% were on such sites.
While one might assume that Facebook would prove to be the largest social network overall, SCORE found that was actually not the case. That said, the reason for this was the organization’s inclusion of YouTube as a social media platform, which is arguable at best. Still, with YouTube in the mix, it was easily the most-used among 18 to 24 years olds with 94% using the video-sharing site. That was followed by Facebook with 80%, Instagram with more than 70%, and Twitter with around 45%. As for older adults, YouTube still ranked first (or tied for first) with 85% of those aged 25 to 29, 80% of 30 to 49-year-olds, and 57% of those over 50 using the site. Once again Facebook usage was also strong, with 81%, 80%, and 55% of those respective age groups holding Facebook accounts.
In terms of how small businesses are using social media to their advantage, 44% of businesses say that such platforms have enabled them to increase brand awareness. Additionally 41% report depending on social outlets to drive sales for their businesses. Beyond marketing and sales, local businesses have also tapped social channels to improve their customer service efforts. In fact 59% of Americans say they find it easier to have issues resolved through social media.
Overall the latest data from SCORE not only re-highlights the importance for small businesses to have a social media presence but also demonstrates the different ways that entrepreneurs can utilize these platforms. Moreover, setting aside the issue of whether or not YouTube is a true social network or not, the survey does show the potential opportunity that exists for businesses that create video content (notably Facebook has also been emphasizing its live video streaming). For these reasons and many more, the 23% of small businesses who don’t currently use social media should probably reconsider that stance while the 73% that do should continue looking for ways to improve their efforts.