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Small Business Marketing: LinkedIn, Twitter Growing in Effectiveness

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Despite much debate over the value of social networks to small business marketing, growing numbers of small business owners view social media as an effective tool, according to a survey from Constant Contact.

Surveyed small businesses report the biggest surge in the effectiveness of LinkedIn and Twitter, among the major social networks.

Overall, 8 in 10 (80%) small business owners say they conduct social media marketing, and among those who do...

  • 82% say Facebook is effective for their business, up 7 percentage points (PPs) from the 75% who said so in May 2012.
  • 29% say LinkedIn is effective, up 19 PPs from the 10% who said so in May.
  • 25% say Twitter is effective, up 18 PPs from the 7% who said so in May.
  • 15% say YouTube is effective, up 12 PPs from the 3% who said so in May.

Among small business owners, Pinterest (9%), Yelp (6%), and Google+ (5%) rank lower in business effectiveness.

Below, additional findings from Constant Contact’s small business survey, conducted in December 2012.

Social Media S.O.S.

Though small businesses view social tools as increasingly effective, they lack confidence in their skills: 54% cite social media marketing as the marketing task they most need help with.

That lack of confidence may explain their fairly low frequency of social media posts.

Only 13% of small business owners post to Twitter on a daily basis, while only 10% post weekly to LinkedIn: 

Business Snapshot

Small business 2012 year-end revenue reports did not match their mid-year optimism:

  • 38% say revenue increased more than 10% over the 2011 levels vs. 52% who projected that level of growth in May 2012.
  • 21% reported revenue increased less than 10%, vs. 27% who forecast such growth as of May.
  • 23% say revenue remained flat, vs. 13% who forecast no growth as of May.
  • 8% say revenue decreased less than 10%, vs. 4% who forecast such declines as of May.
  • 10% say revenue fell more than 10%, vs. 3% who projected those declines as of May. 

About the data: Findings are based on a December 2012 survey of 1,100 participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council, a research panel of US small businesses and nonprofits recruited via the Constant Contact customer base. Results include responses from respondents across a range of B2B and B2C industries.

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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.

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  • by Ryan Key Thu Mar 28, 2013 via web

    LinkedIn and Twitter have been my greatest assets as far as marketing for business, although I have received good results from Facebook, it's never gone anywhere. I have received business from following a company on Pinterest and then connecting again on Twitter.

  • by Jay Glazer Thu Mar 28, 2013 via web

    I think Pinterest is going to surpass both linkedin and twitter for ecommerce marketing, particularly for small businesses. My company provides social software tools for the ecommerce space. Tools like pin it to win it contests have been really successful and the costs of running the contests are very low. We have a lot of different tools that engage users on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, as well. Check out some of these tools, they have proven to be great low cost strategies for us, perfect for small businesses!

  • by Neil Licht Mon Apr 1, 2013 via web

    One key metric is missing re the survey and its value - Type of target audience. It defines what social media to use. You need to be where your logical/natural target audience "hangs out" online.

    For instance, B2B's trying to leverage facebook. Think about it, when was the last time you went looking for a software program for your business via facebook? Then ask yourself why you spend any time being on facebook?

    See what I mean. Sorry but the raw data is useless without defining the business types, their natural audience and what they use or could use as the best social media.

    There's way more than Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn that can yield much better results as in acquiring paying customers

    Please look at this roadmap and comment re its value in finding the best social media to use for any business:

    Thanks, Neil Licht, “HERE WE ARE” - How to Acquire Paying Customers online w/o competition via target audience specific social media groups & discussions

    CEO,Managing Director-Chief Consulting Adviser, 1-508-481-8567

  • by Guillaume Wed Apr 3, 2013 via web

    I'm surprised that Slideshare is missing from this study. It is a very effective way to generate leads for B2B small businesses.

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