Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the US are focusing heavily on promoting themselves via social media, which now takes up nearly a quarter (21.4%) of their marketing spend.

The reliance on social to drive awareness and sales for small enterprises is evident in the fact that three-quarters of SMBs (74.5%) currently use social networks for marketing, according to a survey of 546 businesses from research and advisory group BIA/Kelsey.

Facebook is said to be the most popular social platform among SMBs, defined as companies with between 1-99 members of staff. The network is favoured by 55.1% of small companies, 20% of whom have taken things a step further by using promoted posts.

Consumer-based networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are also proving popular among the group, while the B2B hub of LinkedIn is being touted as another spearhead for SMB marketing.  

Socially acceptable

Findings from BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) lend weight to beliefs that social advertising provides a highly effective way for small businesses to grow their following with minimal investment.

Even paid-for social advertisements such as Facebook’s ‘promoted posts’ and Twitter’s ‘sponsored tweets’ can be measured in terms of social metrics such as likes and shares. Effectively, this means brands always keep a close eye on the impact of their spend.

“It’s evident from LCM 18 that social media has become a pivotal platform for SMBs,” stated BIA/Kelsey director of research Steve Marshall, speaking after the results were launched.

“Social media is not only number one in terms of utilization by SMBs, it is also number one in share of SMB media spending.”