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Over four-fifths (81%) of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) use social media to drive business growth, and an additional 9% are planning to use it in the future, according to a recent report from LinkedIn and TNS.

Of the SMBs already using social media, 94% use it for marketing, and nearly half also use it for learning/deriving business insights.

Overall, SMBs seem fairly bullish on social media: 60% say it helps to gain new customers, and 56% increased spend in the past year.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from from a survey of 998 SMB owners/decision-makers. All the businesses are based in North America and have revenues between $1 million and $50 million.

Content 

  • The analysis found the top articles viewed by small business owners on LinkedIn are about business leadership and marketing.
  • 79% of SMB owners surveyed consider industry-specific news/articles to be most valuable type of social media content.
  • Testimonials from clients/customers and industry experts are also highly valued.

Finance

  • Over two-thirds of SMBs use social media for finance-related reasons, including staying current with financial trends, gathering preliminary information about financial products/companies, and seeking information for financial decisions.
  • 29% of respondents say they cannot find the finance-related best-practices, how-to guides, and checklists they want on social media.

Hyper-Growth Businesses

  • 16% of SMBs surveyed say they are in "hyper-growth mode"—meaning they saw a "significant" increase in YoY revenue last year.
  • 90% of these hyper-growth SMBs say social media advertising is effective for increasing awareness of their company, products, and services.
  • 82% say social media is effective for generating new leads.
  • 73% of hyper-growth businesses increased their social media spend last year, compared with only 42% of SMBs in non-growth mode.

About the research: The report was based on data from an online survey conducted in November 2013 of 998 SMB owners and decision makers. All the businesses are based in North America and have revenues between $1 million $50 million.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji