small businesses using social media

How does your business’s social media use measure up?

By Rieva Lesonsky

Last month, I shared some interesting updates about how American consumers are using social media. But how are small businesses using social media? MarketingProfs recently reported on a new survey by Clutch that has the latest insights. Here’s what you should know.

The majority of small businesses use social media

Almost three-fourths (71%) of small business owners in the survey say they currently use social media, and 16% say they plan to start to in the future. Only 13% say they have no plans to use social media in the future.

Among the businesses using social media, many are relatively new to the party. Although 47% of survey respondents started using social media before 2017, 24% didn’t start until last year.

The most popular social media platforms for small businesses

Not surprisingly given its popularity with consumers, Facebook is the most popular social platform among small business owners. Some 86% use it, followed by Instagram (48%), YouTube (46%), Twitter (44%), LinkedIn (31%) and Snapchat (25%).

Facebook is so popular, in fact, that 12% of the small businesses using social media only use Facebook. I’m not a big fan of limiting yourself to one social network — but if you must, Facebook is the smart choice for most businesses. (As Pew’s report found, Facebook encompasses the widest range of user demographics of any social network.)

Who’s posting?

Women small business owners in the survey are more likely than men small business owners to post on social media (74% versus 66%). Since more women than men use social media for personal use, the report notes, it makes sense that more women use it for their businesses, too.

Millennial business owners (ages 18 to 34) are also more likely to use social media than Generation X and baby boomer business owners. Some 79% of millennial business owners use social media, compared to 65% of Generation X and baby boomer business owners. (The study lumped Generation X and baby boomers together as “35 and up.”)

The different age groups also prefer different social networks. Millennial business owners are more likely to use Instagram (56%) than Generation X/baby boomer entrepreneurs (40%). They’re also more likely to use Snapchat (32% of millennials compared to 20% of Generation X/baby boomers).

Generation X and baby boomers, in contrast, are more likely to use Facebook (90% versus 82% of millennials) and LinkedIn (36% versus 25% of millennials).

What small business owners post on social media

The most popular type of content small businesses post on social media is images or infographics, which 54% post. Also popular:

  • 52% post offers/promotions
  • 49% post reviews
  • 44% post videos
  • 40% post blog posts
  • 33% post research/data

These are all great types of content to post. Images have been shown to garner more attention on social media than text-only content. Sharing reviews of your business is also a smart idea — why not spread the good word? Since social media users love getting useful information, sharing blog posts, research and data will also get attention.

How often small business owners post on social media

Small business owners are doing pretty well when it comes to frequency of posting. Slightly more than half (52%) of small businesses that use social media post at least once a day; 79% post at least once a week.

Posting at least once a day will garner better results. Using social media management tools to schedule posts in advance can help you meet this goal in spite of your busy workday. (Check out a list of the best social media management tools as rated by users.)

I’m glad to see so many small business owners embracing the power of social media marketing. If you are one of the 16% who hasn’t yet started, what are you waiting for?

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash