Commentary

Majority Of Small Biz Owners Use Social Media

Nearly two-thirds of small business owners (64%) use social media for business-related purposes, according to the fall 2014 survey of entrepreneurs by Cargo, which specializes in business-to-business marketing for big brands trying to connect with small biz.

That figure is up from 48% just six months ago, and correlates with a big increase in general online activity by small business owners.

Among small business owners who use social media, Facebook is the most popular platform, cited by 74%, followed by 45.8% for Twitter, 39.6% for Google+, 34.4% for YouTube, and 31% for social commerce sites like Groupon and Living Social. 14.6% said they use review sites like Yelp.

Remarkably, the proportion of small business owners who said they spend three hours a day or more online on business-related matters more than doubled over the last six months, per the Cargo survey, from 26.7% in the spring to 54.6% in the fall of this year.

Asked what their primary concerns are, 30.7% said they worry about hiring and retaining talented employees, and 28.7% plan to increase their spending on recruitment over the next year -- up from 18.7% in the spring. Plus, 18% said they worry about keeping up with latest technology. In the near term, 27.3% said they plan to spend more on computer services and IT, and 28% plan to spend more on advertising, marketing and public relations.

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It’s worth noting that while they use social media to connect with customers, when it comes to their own business-related purchasing decisions, social media ranks pretty low on the totem pole.

Just 12.7% of small business owners cited social as the biggest influence on their procurement process, compared to 34.7% for search, 27.3% for trade shows and events, 26% for business magazines, and 22% for TV.

Back in June, I wrote about another survey from Endurance, which provides Web site hosting services to very small businesses. It found that 90% of its subscribers have a social-media presence. Facebook was the clear winner, used by 87% of VSBs, followed by Twitter at 53%, LinkedIn at 50%, and YouTube and Google+, both at 36%. Further down the list were Pinterest, with 20%, and Instagram, with 15%.

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