How Do Small Businesses Use Social Media in 2019?
A new survey shows that social media strategies are not one-size-fits-all, and that 38% of small businesses skip social media marketing altogether. Here are our top 3 takeaways.
As a full-service digital agency, we know that social media is a powerful tool for small businesses to get their content in front of a wider audience. Social media campaigns, however, need to be customized to each company’s unique needs.
We were recently asked to provide expert commentary on a new small business survey from Visual Objects, a portfolio reviews website featuring top creative firms from around the world Visual Objects surveyed over 500 small business owners and managers in the United States to see how they use social media.
Our top 3 takeaways from How Businesses Use Social Media in 2019 are:
- Small Businesses Manage Social Media In-House
- Images and Infographics Are the Most Popular Form of Content
- Most Small Businesses Engage Consistently
Most Small Businesses Manage Social Media In-House
Visual Objects’ research showed that 56% of small businesses manage social media in-house, and that 37% use social media management software.
When asked about how small businesses use software to manage social media accounts, Ben Austin shared our experience with Hootsuite.
“Hootsuite is a fantastic platform which allows us to scheduled posts to be shared around the clock, enabling the team to reach and engage new audiences and provide our clients social media channels with the greatest exposure,” Austin said.
Our team uses Hootsuite to manage our content and engagements across social media channels – including scheduling posts in advance.
We advise brands to use these tools with caution, however, since social media post scheduling can be out-of-step with current news and events and damage businesses’ reputations with their audience.
Images and Infographics Are the Most Popular Form of Content
It’s no secret in the digital marketing space that images perform well across social media channels. The survey data showed that 29% of small businesses post images and infographics the most frequently.
Our social media accounts are filled with images of our staff around the office and at various company events.
“With more than 32% of marketers agreeing that visual images are one of the most important forms of content for their social media platforms, we believe that the use of high-quality images and video is the way forward. They can get your audience’s attention and help them to remember your message while building a strong identity,” Ben said in the report.
Images on social media boost engagement and draw the eye. They also offer audiences a glimpse into our company’s day-to-day, making our brand more accessible.
We recommended that small businesses start to incorporate more video into their social media content rotation – only 16% of the small businesses surveyed said they posted video the most.
“The integration of video is an excellent way to drive growth across social media including on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and with Live Video becoming increasingly popular and more people wanting to watch a video that is related to the product or service before making a purchase, its important to carefully consider what your audience is looking for,”
Video content is often favored by social media algorithms and offers the same authentic branding as company-sourced images. Perhaps in 2020 more small businesses will be using video on their channels.
Small Businesses Engage Consistently on Social Media
The survey found that 29% of small businesses engage and share on social media multiple times per day, though there’s no single formula that works for all businesses.
We believe that small businesses benefit most from social media when they post consistently throughout the day.
“When it comes to managing a social media channel, it’s not about quantity; it’s about the quality of the content that you post. While it’s important to post a couple of times per day on Twitter at least, it’s crucial ensure that you are not posting without good reason to,” Austin said. “It all comes down to how you integrate your social posts with the rest of your digital marketing strategy.”
Posting on social media frequently will help small businesses reach a wider audience and engage audiences with relevant content.
Social Media Helps Small Businesses Grow
Overall, the survey underscored the myriad ways small businesses can use social media to meet their goals. By engaging consistently with relevant visual content, small businesses can engage a wider audience with relatively low effort.
Sometimes, however, social media can become too burdensome for smaller operations to handle. If social media strategy feels too challenging, small businesses should work with digital agencies to create a social media plan to meet their goals and abilities.