About a year ago, we noticed many businesses changing the pattern of their social media activity. Where they once had tried to maintain a presence everywhere, in 2012 companies realizing they couldn’t do it all. There was a definite shift in activity as they became more selective about where they spent their time. This focus theme is clear in the comments from our 2013 Small Business Social Media Survey.
Tips on how to spend time from survey respondents:
- Select the one where your customers and potential customers hang out, and do it well. Fewer social media sites done well is a better strategy than many social media sites done poorly.
- Master one platform before moving on to the next.
- Figure out how to incorporate one platform into your strategy and move on from there.
- Choose one tool and interact with your community.
As we dive deeper into the data, LinkedIn and Facebook emerge as the clear first choice of most of our participants, with Twitter a respectable third place. While everyone talks about the importance of G+ for search, few participants in our study are using this as their “go-to” network.
Network by Segment
The message to small businesses is clearly to go where your customers are. As we look at the breakdown of the data by market segment, it’s clear that the businesses are taking that advice. Not surprisingly, businesses with a consumer target are spending their time on Facebook. 70% of these businesses list Facebook as their primary network. In contrast, B2B companies are significantly more likely to be spending time on LinkedIn, with more than 50% of these companies citing LinkedIn as their primary network.
What about companies which serve both markets? The path is not as clear for these firms, with 48% gravitating to Facebook first and 31% jumping into Linked as their primary network. Customer segment does not seem to impact Twitter usage at all. The more conversational nature of the interactions seems to appeal more to a type of user then a market segment.
Network by Size
In contrast, Twitter use seems to fluctuate dramatically depending on the size of the company. The smaller the company, the more likely they are to use Twitter as their primary network. The highly interactive, time-consuming, and real-time nature of Twitter makes it a more challenging network for these early stage two companies, as they are too big to really control all the interactions, and too small to have strict policies or full time staff member dedicated to managing the network. Facebook is fairly consistent regardless of company size, while LinkedIn gets stronger the bigger a company gets.
So what about you? Where do you spend the majority of your social media day?
This information is part of the data collected in our 2013 Social Media Survey. This year, we had just over 400 respondents who owned or worked in small businesses (companies with less than 100 employees). They represented a wide range of ages, industries and job titles. The full report will be available in early March. You can reserve your free copy here.