In mid 2010, we saw a social media explosion among small business owners. We began to look for studies on how companies were using social media—and their results. What we found was a lot of information on o how consumers and large companies used social media, but few examined the use of social media by small companies. The lack of data drove us to conduct several surveys in mid-2010 and again in 2011.
In the world of social media a year is a long time. Things change…. rapidly. Google+ was launched after we concluded our last study so in early 2012 we knew it was time to take a closer look at what was happening with small businesses and social media.
In this year’s study, small businesses are defined as companies with 1-100 employees. The vast majority of respondents were business owners. It is important to note we did not attempt to measure the number of small businesses using social media, but rather how existing social business users are employing the tools.
This small business social media survey was conducted entirely online from January 1 – March 15, 2012. Links to the survey were published on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, Meetup and distributed via email. The survey was also publicized on a number of marketing and social media websites in addition to roundpeg2020.wpengine.com.
We received 464 responses, with more than half coming from LinkedIn. At first we were concerned the disproportionate response would skew the data. As we delved into the responses we discovered the LinkedIn respondents participated in a number of social media platforms. They responded to the LinkedIn request because the message didn’t get lost in the stream. They were just more likely to see and respond to the request that came through LinkedIn.
What’s new this year?
- This year, the survey pool was large enough to examine how company size impacted choices and behaviors in social media.
- Pinterest exploded on the scene in early 2012, and it is just beginning to make its presence known. We expect it will have a much bigger impact next year.
- This year there are more questions about how companies are spending their time, what they hope to accomplish and how they are measuring the ROI of their social media program.
- Comment section included two new questions:
- What would you tell someone just starting out?
- What will you change in your program this year?
We hope that you find this study useful. After you have read the study, please share your comments. We would love to know how you compare to your fellow small business owners.