By Rieva Lesonsky
Are you a social media marketing maven who relies on Facebook for growing your business? Or do you have a passion for tweeting? The Wall Street Journal and Vistage recently polled U.S. small business owners to find out what social media networks they use the most, and which ones get the best ROI for their businesses.
The results? For social media marketing, entrepreneurs are big fans of LinkedIn, but Twitter—not so much.
The survey asked small business owners which social network they think has the most potential to help their companies. LinkedIn led with 41 percent of respondents picking it for social media marketing. YouTube was cited by 16 percent, Facebook by 14 percent and Twitter by just 3 percent.
Not only is LinkedIn cited as having the most potential, but it’s also the tool most companies (30 percent) actually use on a regular basis. Some 22 percent use Facebook, 14 percent use Twitter, 13 percent use YouTube, 7 percent use Google+ and 3 percent use Pinterest.
I think it’s interesting that while 14 percent of small business owners actually use Twitter, only 3 percent believe it has a lot of potential. Small business owners mentioned in the Journal article say it’s hard to “get traction” on Twitter with so many tweets flying by so fast.
Personally, I’ve found Twitter to be a great tool for building business, tapping in to what other business owners are thinking about, and sharing information and advice. On the other hand, sharing information is my business, so it makes sense why Twitter works for me. Perhaps the reason so many small business owners value LinkedIn (and believe they could be using it even better) is its potential for more in-depth interactions, the kinds that we used to only have face-to-face. Personal service is a big plus that small businesses can offer, so it stands to reason that the more personal a social media tool can be, the more small business owners will warm to it.
The good news is that small business owners aren’t ignoring social media. Some 50 percent of them spend 1-5 hours a week on it, while 40 percent of small business owners have employees dedicated to social media marketing.
I’m not saying you should embrace Twitter if it’s not working for you. In fact, this article illustrates something that I always tell small business owners: You need to find the social media tools that get results for your business, and focus your energies there. The entrepreneurs in the story who weren’t happy with Twitter weren’t writing it off sight unseen—they had tried it, along with other social media tools, measured their analytics, and seen that other tools worked better to drive traffic to their businesses. That’s a smart approach to social media marketing, whatever platform you use.