Nearly all small- and medium-sized businesses use social media as a marketing tool.
That’s one of the key findings in a newly released report by LinkedIn. The paper — entitled Priming the Economic Engine: How Social Media is Driving Growth for Small and Medium Businesses — shines an interesting light on how social media is used by those businesses. For instance, the report notes half of small and medium business owners on social media use it for learning and deriving business insights.
This means social media has now become not only a tool used to convey messages to potential customers, but also a valuable means for businesses to gain insight in to what customers and potential customers are look for.
Nearly 1,000 businesses were surveyed by LinkedIn‘s researchers. Of those, 94 per cent said their primary reason for using social media was for marketing. In addition, businesses said social media fills a valuable gap in generating advertising through word-of-mouth, getting information out to the public and generating awareness and interest.
Just as key, more than 60 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses involved in the survey reported they are looking for new customers with social media allowing that goal to be achieved.
The educational aspect of social media is not to be overlooked. More than two-thirds of the businesses surveyed indicated social media is used for financial services. It allows these businesses to stay informed about news and financial trends as well as seek guidance from other businesses.
Essentially, social networks are being used for networking.
The report, while admittedly highlighting LinkedIn’s value to such businesses, is an interesting study giving insight to how these small businesses function in the electronic marketplace. While many may view social media as only a means for friends to connect and catch up, there’s proof here that much can be learned about the small business world and how it is adapting to changing times.