12 Social Media Marketing Trends for Small Business

Curious about how other small businesses are using social media to get more sales?

Wondering which platforms work best for small businesses?

Social Media Examiner’s seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a survey of 3,720 marketers, business owners and solopreneurs from the U.S. and overseas, reveals some trends gaining momentum, as well as some surprising stalls.

Discover twelve social media marketing trends for small businesses.


The majority of the study’s participants were either small business owners or marketers working for small businesses. Specifically:

  • Thirty-seven percent of the survey’s respondents were involved with businesses involving 2 to 10 people
  • Twenty-three percent were solopreneurs
  • Eighty-two percent were involved with businesses having 100 employees or fewer

Get ideas from their experiences and future plans to help you shape your social marketing strategy when you download the report

Social media beginners and experienced users both will find helpful information here about:

  • Whether social media is working for small businesses
  • How much time other small businesses spend on social media marketing
  • What types of content small businesses use
  • Where small business owners and their marketing staff buy the most ads

#1: Social Media Critical for Small Business

First, 96% of survey participants use social media marketing, and 92% of those agree or strongly agree with the phrase, “Social media marketing is important for my business.” Keep in mind that participants self-selected from a pool of over 300,000, and therefore are probably more interested in social media marketing than people who did not respond.

social media importance to survey participants

Nearly all survey participants use social media and view it as important for their business or company.

#2: Facebook Dominates Small Business Social Media Marketing

The majority of respondents carry out social media marketing on Facebook. The chart below shows that 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%. In the coming year, 62% of respondents plan to increase their use of Facebook for marketing purposes. Sixty-six percent will increase Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn activity.

platforms used by respondents

Ninety-three percent of survey respondents indicated using Facebook for social media marketing.

Twitter is gaining on Facebook, however, and with its new advertising opportunities, will be an interesting property to watch over the next year or so. It’s much the same story forInstagram and Pinterest, both of which doubled their traffic from 2014 to 2015.

YouTube is more commonly used by larger businesses. Specifically, 71% of businesses with 100+ employees use YouTube, compared to 38% of the self-employed.

#3: B2B Small Businesses Use Social Differently Than B2C

Breaking down Social Media Marketing Industry Report averages is useful. B2B respondents for this survey report that LinkedIn is their number-one choice for social networking.

platforms used by b2b respondents

Those in the B2B space give LinkedIn the majority of their attention, but use Facebook and Twitter too, at respectable rates.

B2C companies, on the other hand, go to Facebook first and in larger numbers. This makes sense because B2B businesses are looking for the marketing people, facilities managers, buyers and others who rely on LinkedIn for industry connections and news. Facebook is comprised of nearly every consumer on the planet.

Seventy-one percent of B2B marketers want to learn more about LinkedIn this year. This said, just 18% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn ads. These same marketers are using Facebook ads at a rate of 75%.

platforms used by b2c respondents

B2C companies can’t resist the huge potential consumer pool on Facebook.

#4: Most Small Business Marketers Don’t Know if Facebook Efforts Are Working

Despite the fact that 92% of small businesses agree that social media is important for their business AND that the majority use Facebook for their social media marketing, most also report that they don’t know whether their Facebook outreach is “working.”

“Working” may mean building brand awareness and relationships with customers. It could also mean bringing in more leads and sales. The bottom line is that the majority of small businesses either don’t know if Facebook achieves the goals they’ve set or it does NOT achieve those goals. It could also mean they have no goals or they haven’t bothered to measure their progress toward goals. Shockingly, despite the high numbers using Facebook, just one in three self-employed respondents characterize Facebook efforts as “effective.”

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