BIA: Small Businesses Rely Mostly on Social Media

CHANTILLY, VA.— Nearly three-quarters of sSmall and medium-sized businesses reported using social media to promote their businesses—more than any other category of media.

Of the total sample of 546 SMBs, Facebook dominated, with 55.1 percent reporting they have a Facebook page for business use, and 20 percent reporting they have run a Facebook ad or promoted post. At the same time, strong showings by other platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter’s promoted tweets, indicate the social space is highly robust for SMB marketing.

“It’s evident from LCM 18 that social media has become a pivotal platform for SMBs,” said Steve Marshall, director of research for BIA/Kelsey. “Social media is not only number one in terms of utilization by SMBs, it is also number one in share of SMB media spending.”

SMBs reported spending 21.4 percent of their total media budget on social media in the past 12 months.

The survey covered over 35 different media and platforms used by SMBs for advertising and promotion. These media fall into 10 top-level media categories: Online (e.g., search, display ads, blogs); traditional (e.g., direct mail, newspapers); mobile (e.g., search, SMS, display); local coupons (print and online); social (e.g., Facebook, Twitter); video (e.g., website videos, YouTube); broadcast; local directories (print and online); giveaway items; and community sponsorships.

Updates to this wave of the survey questionnaire included additions to the list of media (Pinterest, Instagram, streaming audio and promoted Tweets), as well as additional questions to cover social engagement, click fraud, agency relationships, use of mobile devices in-store, customer incentives and use of transaction data.