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LinkedIn-SMB-Use-of-Social-Media-Feb2014LinkedIn has released a study of the use of social media by SMBs in the US and Canada, and while some of it reads as a sales pitch to attract financial companies to the platform, the study does contain some interesting data points. According to the survey of almost 1,000 companies, 8 in 10 currently use social for their business, with the vast majority – 94% – of those doing so for their marketing needs. Many report it helping achieve an important goal – attracting new customers. Indeed, some 61% find social useful in gaining new customers.

The top reasons SMBs use social for marketing, per the report, are:

  • Maintaining a company presence and identity;
  • Generating word-of-mouth;
  • Delivering content and new information about the company;
  • Advertising to help increase awareness; and
  • Advertising to generate new leads.

But SMBs are using social for more than just marketing, according to LinkedIn’s findings. About half of them use it for learning – such as accessing networks of peers to ask questions, learning from experts in their industry and obtaining insights or best practices.

The study takes a closer look at the 16% of SMBs responding to the study that are in “hyper growth” mode, meaning that they have experienced a significant increase in year-over-year revenue. These fast-risers are more likely than those who haven’t experienced any growth to have increased their spending on social media (73% vs. 42%). While there are too many variables at play (these companies no doubt have more money to spend on marketing across the board) to consider that result anything more than a nice correlation for LinkedIn to tout, other survey results do show that these fast-growing SMBs are enthusiastic about social’s effectiveness. In fact, at least 8 in 10 say that social media is effective for maintaining a company presence and identity (90%), generating word-of-mouth (88%), delivering content and information about their company (89%) and advertising to generate new leads (82%).

About the Data: The LinkedIn data is based on a survey of 998 small ($1M-$9.9M USD) and medium ($10M-$49.9M USD) businesses in the US and Canada.

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