Please note this is a guest post and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the blog owner.
These days, it seems every small business owner owner we talk to is rushing head long into social media. But what are they doing when they get there? We surveyed 464 small businesses between January 1 and March 15, 2012 to find out. To get an idea of what small businesses are actually doing on social media, we asked them about how often they participate in social media, as well as how often they update their social media. Participation is a broad term which may include simply reading updates from others. In contrast, updating your status is very specific activity that tells us how often small businesses engage in direct, interactive activity on social networks.
We learned that for most small businesses, social media is used frequently, but not quite every day.
How Often Do You Participate?
Among the most popular networks, Facebook attracts the most regular usage. 53% of participants who use Facebook said they participate on Facebook daily.
A close second is Twitter with 44% of their users dropping by every day. In contrast, LinkedIn users are more likely to say they check in often, but not every day. New kid on the block Pinterest was running neck and neck with Google+. It is a safe bet that the visual content site will leave Google+ in the dust by next year’s study.
How Often Do You Update?
We asked participants how often they update their status on each network, using the following scale:
1 = Monthly, 2 = Several times a month, 3 = Weekly, 4 = Multiple times each week, 5 = Daily, 6 = Multiple times a day
Twitter is the most time consuming of the social networks. Average users tweet several times a week, and the most active users are likely to use the tool multiple times a day. The rapid-fire nature of the community supports that level of activity. As we talk with small business owners, we often caution them about the time commitment needed to build a strong community. Twitter is not for everyone.
On average, Facebook is a close second in terms of post frequency, but few users are updating their status more than once a day. The lower volume makes this a great choice for companies hoping to expand their reach with a reasonable investment of time.
Blogs, Google+ and Pinterest all see activity almost every week. As a passionate content marketer, I was pleased to see businesses regularly carving out time for their blog. This content provides a great foundation for other social networks to pull from.
While many businesses indicate LinkedIn is their primary business network, the average user is only making status updates a few times each month. So what are they doing the rest of the time? LinkedIn is a different beast, more like an address book then a network. The real power of this network lies in the ability to connect with specific individuals in a relatively quiet environment. We saw this firsthand as we distributed this survey, generating significanly more responses through LinkedIn messages then all other platforms combined. If you don’t have a LinkedIn strategy for your business, now is the time to build one to get their message in front of a much wider, business focused audience.
Interested in the complete report? You can download it here.
Are you a small business owner/handle social media within one? Do tell us how this report matches up with your experiences.
About the author:
As Creative Director of Roundpeg, an Indianapolis-based marketing firm, Lorraine is typically at the center of the managed chaos that makes the agency run. With more than thirty years as a marketing professional (lie, tell her she doesn’t look that old) Lorraine keeps Roundpeg popping with a never-ending stream of new ideas.
A native New Yorker, Lorraine is a Hoosier by choice, and is committed to fostering growth and entrepreneurship in her adopted city. Recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of the Most Influential Women in Indianapolis, she is an active member of the local Indianapolis business community.
When not at Roundpeg, Lorraine can be found sharing what she knows in seminars and presentations around the country. She has a BA from Queens College, City University of NY, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas.