LinkedIn_Study

There might be more big brands on social media these days, but according to a recent LinkedIn study, social media is an important driver of growth for small and medium businesses.

SMBs account for a huge part of the economy. Young businesses in particular are the biggest contributors to job growth and seven out of 10 new jobs are created by a small business, according to the study.

The study, which included a survey of nearly 1000 SMBs in the US and Canada, indicates that SMBs are optimistic and focused on marketing in 2014. In fact, more than 90 percent of SMBs are either current users of social media or plan to use it in the future.

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Among those currently using social media, nearly all are using it for marketing. The top reason for social media marketing according to the study? Simply to maintain a company presence and identity online. SMBs also use social media to generate word-of-mouth about the business, deliver content about the company, increase awareness and generate new leads.

According to the study, one in six SMBs on the grow are in what was referred to as hyper-growth mode. Indeed, companies experiencing hyper growth report a 73 percent increase in social media spend, indicating that social media is an effective tool for branding, generating word-of-mouth, content marketing and lead generation.

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Nearly half of SMBs using social media also use it for learning and sharing resources. Not only are SMBs sharing with and learning from each other, they’re also using social media to keep tabs on financial trends and institutions, according to the study. The financial information SMBs are most interested in but not getting includes how-to guides and checklists, technological developments, new products, company background and industry news.

Based on the data, the study identified several opportunities and best practices for marketers, including targeting hyper-growth companies, taking advantage of unmet content needs and building credibility by creating open dialogue.