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Priming the Economic Engine
How Social Media is Driving Growth for
Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs)

Commissioned study
conducted by:
1
Why should you care about SMBs?
SMBs contribute $5.5
trillion in annual revenue
(Source: Dun and Bradstreet)

1
Young firms in
growth mode are the
largest contributors
to job growth.

3

2

(Source: Goldman Sachs)

Small businesses
create seven of every
ten new jobs.
(Source: SBA Office of Advocacy)
©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

2
They’re optimistic about 2014 and focused on
marketing

8 in 10

41%

10.7%

think 2014 will be
better than 20131

say increasing marketing
and brand presence is their
top business priority1

YoY increase in
marketing budgets2

1 - RocketLawyer, 2013 Semi-Annual Small Business Survey
2 - Borrell Associates, Dec. 2013

3
We wanted to understand how and
why SMBs use social media

DEFINING
SMBs

Small
$1M to $9.9M USD

Medium

998 Small and Medium Businesses surveyed in the

$10M to $49.9M USD

US and Canada
©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

4
Key Findings
Social media: ideal for marketing, but also for learning
• 94% of SMB social media users use it for marketing
• Half use it for learning and deriving business insights

There is a strong correlation between increased social
media spend and hyper growth
• 73% of hyper growth companies reported increased social media spend
• 82% of hyper growth SMBs say it is effective for generating new leads

There is a prime opportunity for financial companies to
influence SMBs on social media – especially on LinkedIn
• 68% use social media for finance-related reasons
• 93% are driven to take action after using social for both discovery and consideration
• SMBs are most open to receiving financial information on LinkedIn

5
Social media:
ideal for marketing,
but also for learning

6
8 out of 10 SMBs use social media for their business

81%
of SMBs are Current
Users of Social Media

9%
are Future
Users

7
Among social media users,
nearly all use it for marketing

TOP MARKETING
REASONS*

1

2

Generate word-of-mouth

3

Deliver content and new
information about company

4

Advertise to help increase
awareness

5

94%

Maintain a company
presence and identity

Advertise to generate
new leads

Use Social Media for

Marketing Needs

*Base: Current Social Media Users
Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses
Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses

8
The reason? Social media addresses their #1 challenge

65%
State that attracting
new customers is
their top business
challenge

61%

Find social media useful
in gaining new customers

©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

9
Half also use social media to
learn and share resources

TOP REASONS FOR
LEARNING*

1

2

Learn from experts in
my industry

3

Obtain insights or best
practices

4

49%

Access a network of
peers to ask questions

Find information and
opinions to answer my
questions

Use Social Media for

Learning

*Base: Current Social Media Users
Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses
Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses

10
Strong correlation between
increased social media spend
and hyper growth

11
The majority of SMBs are growing and one in six are
in hyper growth mode
HYPER GROWTH
Significant Increase in Overall
Revenue YoY

16%

NON-GROWTH

GROWTH

Decrease/No Change in
overall revenue YoY

48%

Increase in Overall Revenue
Compared to Last Year

36%

Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses
Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses

12
Hyper growth and increased spend on social media
are strongly correlated
Report Increased Social Media Spend

Hyper Growth

73%
Non-Growth

42%

©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

13
SMBs in hyper growth find social media to be very
effective in achieving key marketing goals
% Reporting That Social Media Is Effective For...

BRANDING

WORD-OF
-MOUTH

90%

88%

89%

82%

Maintaining a
company presence &
identity

Generating word-ofmouth about a
company

Delivering content &
information about
company

Advertising to
generate new leads

©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

CONTENT
MARKETING

LEAD
GENERATION

14
Social media is one of the most
influential touch points when SMBs
choose a financial service provider

15
Over two-thirds of SMBs on social
media use it for financial services

TOP REASONS*

1

2

3

Seek advice on a financial
decision

Evaluate or re-think a
previous financial decision

5

Have Used Social Media
for Finance-Related

Gather preliminary financial
information

4

68%

Keep up-to-date on financial
trends

Recommend a financial
product to others

Reasons

Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses
Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses

16
Social media triggers SMBs to learn more about
financial products and companies
Top 6 Actions As A Result of Hearing on Social Media
01

03

02

Conducted additional research
on a financial product

04

Learned of a new financial
company

Learned of a new financial
product

05

Shared information about
financial trends, products

06

Asked a financial professional for
additional info

Discussed a financial product with
a friend or colleague

Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses
Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses

17
Among SMBs who use social media for both discovery
and consideration, almost all are driven to action

Path to Purchase

93%
DISCOVERY

CONSIDERATION

DRIVEN TO ACTION

Gather info / stay upto-date

Seek advice/info to make a
purchase

(Learn / Discuss /
Purchase)

©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

18
...and about two in five are driven to purchase

Path to Purchase

37%
DISCOVERY

CONSIDERATION

Gather info / stay upto-date

Seek advice/info to make a
purchase

©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

DRIVEN TO PURCHASE

19
There is a significant opportunity for financial service
providers to cater to SMBs’ unmet needs
Top 5 Types of Finance Content expected on social but not received*

Best practices, how-to guides, checklists

29%

New innovation and technology developments

New product information

21%

Company background

Industry news/strategy information

*Base:: Current Social Media Users
**Base: Those who expected info

22%

20%

16%

20
In the path to purchase for financial
services, SMBs consider LinkedIn to be
one of the most trusted platforms

21
LinkedIn is the destination SMBs are most receptive
to learning about financial products
Openness to Receiving Financial Information
On Social Media Sites*

57%

49%

47%

47%

45%

38%

69%
of hyper growth companies are
receptive to finance content on LinkedIn
*Base: Current Users of Each Social Media Site

22
Only LinkedIn provides the 4 C’s

CREDIBILITY
Nearly 3 in 4 agree LinkedIn allows them to
build credibility.

CONNECTION
Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn lets them connect
with vendors or potential partners.

CONTEXT
Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides a relevant
context to promote and advertise their
company.

COMMUNITY
Nearly 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides access
to a broader community of other companies to
seek opinions.

23
...providing a valuable resource across different
activities in the SMB value chain

Sourcing

Marketing
& Sales

Customer
Service
Open
Innovation

*Base: LinkedIn Users.

24
Build relationships through multiple touch points on
LinkedIn
Encourage referrals and
recommendations

Build community

LIKE
▪

GROUPS

SHARE
FOLLOW

▪

COMMENT

Build your followers

INMAIL

Provide real-time
assistance

SPONSOR
UPDATE

Publish thought
leadership

25
Best practices for marketers
Enable learning throughout each phase of the purchase path

Fulfill unmet content needs

Target hyper growth companies v
Provide resources for the entire SMB value chain
Build your credibility by facilitating open dialogue with SMBs

...LinkedIn has given us great access to new and potential customers. A level of trust is
able to be established and thus, contacting these folks isn't as much of a cold call.
- Small Business, Healthcare industry
©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

26
For the full results....

Download the whitepaper:
http://lnkd.in/SMB-research

27

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Priming the Economic Engine: How Social Media is Driving Growth for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs)

  • 1. Priming the Economic Engine How Social Media is Driving Growth for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) Commissioned study conducted by: 1
  • 2. Why should you care about SMBs? SMBs contribute $5.5 trillion in annual revenue (Source: Dun and Bradstreet) 1 Young firms in growth mode are the largest contributors to job growth. 3 2 (Source: Goldman Sachs) Small businesses create seven of every ten new jobs. (Source: SBA Office of Advocacy) ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 2
  • 3. They’re optimistic about 2014 and focused on marketing 8 in 10 41% 10.7% think 2014 will be better than 20131 say increasing marketing and brand presence is their top business priority1 YoY increase in marketing budgets2 1 - RocketLawyer, 2013 Semi-Annual Small Business Survey 2 - Borrell Associates, Dec. 2013 3
  • 4. We wanted to understand how and why SMBs use social media DEFINING SMBs Small $1M to $9.9M USD Medium 998 Small and Medium Businesses surveyed in the $10M to $49.9M USD US and Canada ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 4
  • 5. Key Findings Social media: ideal for marketing, but also for learning • 94% of SMB social media users use it for marketing • Half use it for learning and deriving business insights There is a strong correlation between increased social media spend and hyper growth • 73% of hyper growth companies reported increased social media spend • 82% of hyper growth SMBs say it is effective for generating new leads There is a prime opportunity for financial companies to influence SMBs on social media – especially on LinkedIn • 68% use social media for finance-related reasons • 93% are driven to take action after using social for both discovery and consideration • SMBs are most open to receiving financial information on LinkedIn 5
  • 6. Social media: ideal for marketing, but also for learning 6
  • 7. 8 out of 10 SMBs use social media for their business 81% of SMBs are Current Users of Social Media 9% are Future Users 7
  • 8. Among social media users, nearly all use it for marketing TOP MARKETING REASONS* 1 2 Generate word-of-mouth 3 Deliver content and new information about company 4 Advertise to help increase awareness 5 94% Maintain a company presence and identity Advertise to generate new leads Use Social Media for Marketing Needs *Base: Current Social Media Users Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses 8
  • 9. The reason? Social media addresses their #1 challenge 65% State that attracting new customers is their top business challenge 61% Find social media useful in gaining new customers ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 9
  • 10. Half also use social media to learn and share resources TOP REASONS FOR LEARNING* 1 2 Learn from experts in my industry 3 Obtain insights or best practices 4 49% Access a network of peers to ask questions Find information and opinions to answer my questions Use Social Media for Learning *Base: Current Social Media Users Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses 10
  • 11. Strong correlation between increased social media spend and hyper growth 11
  • 12. The majority of SMBs are growing and one in six are in hyper growth mode HYPER GROWTH Significant Increase in Overall Revenue YoY 16% NON-GROWTH GROWTH Decrease/No Change in overall revenue YoY 48% Increase in Overall Revenue Compared to Last Year 36% Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses 12
  • 13. Hyper growth and increased spend on social media are strongly correlated Report Increased Social Media Spend Hyper Growth 73% Non-Growth 42% ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 13
  • 14. SMBs in hyper growth find social media to be very effective in achieving key marketing goals % Reporting That Social Media Is Effective For... BRANDING WORD-OF -MOUTH 90% 88% 89% 82% Maintaining a company presence & identity Generating word-ofmouth about a company Delivering content & information about company Advertising to generate new leads ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. CONTENT MARKETING LEAD GENERATION 14
  • 15. Social media is one of the most influential touch points when SMBs choose a financial service provider 15
  • 16. Over two-thirds of SMBs on social media use it for financial services TOP REASONS* 1 2 3 Seek advice on a financial decision Evaluate or re-think a previous financial decision 5 Have Used Social Media for Finance-Related Gather preliminary financial information 4 68% Keep up-to-date on financial trends Recommend a financial product to others Reasons Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses 16
  • 17. Social media triggers SMBs to learn more about financial products and companies Top 6 Actions As A Result of Hearing on Social Media 01 03 02 Conducted additional research on a financial product 04 Learned of a new financial company Learned of a new financial product 05 Shared information about financial trends, products 06 Asked a financial professional for additional info Discussed a financial product with a friend or colleague Small Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Medium Businesses Medium Businesses are significantly more likely vs. Small Businesses 17
  • 18. Among SMBs who use social media for both discovery and consideration, almost all are driven to action Path to Purchase 93% DISCOVERY CONSIDERATION DRIVEN TO ACTION Gather info / stay upto-date Seek advice/info to make a purchase (Learn / Discuss / Purchase) ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 18
  • 19. ...and about two in five are driven to purchase Path to Purchase 37% DISCOVERY CONSIDERATION Gather info / stay upto-date Seek advice/info to make a purchase ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. DRIVEN TO PURCHASE 19
  • 20. There is a significant opportunity for financial service providers to cater to SMBs’ unmet needs Top 5 Types of Finance Content expected on social but not received* Best practices, how-to guides, checklists 29% New innovation and technology developments New product information 21% Company background Industry news/strategy information *Base:: Current Social Media Users **Base: Those who expected info 22% 20% 16% 20
  • 21. In the path to purchase for financial services, SMBs consider LinkedIn to be one of the most trusted platforms 21
  • 22. LinkedIn is the destination SMBs are most receptive to learning about financial products Openness to Receiving Financial Information On Social Media Sites* 57% 49% 47% 47% 45% 38% 69% of hyper growth companies are receptive to finance content on LinkedIn *Base: Current Users of Each Social Media Site 22
  • 23. Only LinkedIn provides the 4 C’s CREDIBILITY Nearly 3 in 4 agree LinkedIn allows them to build credibility. CONNECTION Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn lets them connect with vendors or potential partners. CONTEXT Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides a relevant context to promote and advertise their company. COMMUNITY Nearly 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides access to a broader community of other companies to seek opinions. 23
  • 24. ...providing a valuable resource across different activities in the SMB value chain Sourcing Marketing & Sales Customer Service Open Innovation *Base: LinkedIn Users. 24
  • 25. Build relationships through multiple touch points on LinkedIn Encourage referrals and recommendations Build community LIKE ▪ GROUPS SHARE FOLLOW ▪ COMMENT Build your followers INMAIL Provide real-time assistance SPONSOR UPDATE Publish thought leadership 25
  • 26. Best practices for marketers Enable learning throughout each phase of the purchase path Fulfill unmet content needs Target hyper growth companies v Provide resources for the entire SMB value chain Build your credibility by facilitating open dialogue with SMBs ...LinkedIn has given us great access to new and potential customers. A level of trust is able to be established and thus, contacting these folks isn't as much of a cold call. - Small Business, Healthcare industry ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 26
  • 27. For the full results.... Download the whitepaper: http://lnkd.in/SMB-research 27

Editor's Notes

  1. Goldman Sachs released research last year that clarifies this further. They said, it’s not necessarily the size of the business that leads to job creation, it’s the age. “The process of young firms (which do tend to start out small) growing into larger firms is the true contributor to job growth.” – Kris Dawsey, Goldman Sachs. So SMBs in growth mode are a very important audience.
  2. LinkedIn and TNS surveyed 998 North American small and medium businesses with revenue between 1MM and 50MM USD and use or plan to use social media.Our respondents were financial decision makers or influencers at the company or division/business unit level.Small biz. (top 3 industries): Professional Services (e.g., Consulting, Graphic Design, Supply Chain, Real Estate), Retail & Consumer Products, Manufacturing-IndustrialMid sized biz. (top 3 industries): Manufacturing-Industrial, Professional Services, Financial Services, Insurance or Accounting
  3. Q11. How long has your company been using social media? (Select one)
  4. Q14. Which of the following reasons describe why you currently use/plan to use social media for your company? Q15. Of the following reasons you indicated why you use social media for your company, please indicate how effective social media was in achieving these objectives? (T2B)Top 5 stayed the same for small and mid sized biz. Small biz are more likely to use social media to maintain a company presence and identity, and to find information and opinions to answer their questions, compared to mid sized biz.Mid sized biz were more likely to use social media to find and source new employees/hires, compared to small biz.Both small and mid sized biz. have comparable ratings when it comes to effectiveness of social media
  5. Q10. Please rank order the top 5 challenges for your company over the next 12 months.Small companies are sig more likely to state that attracting new customers is their top challenge. On the other hand, mid sized business are more sig likely to find social media useful in gaining new customers
  6. Q14. Which of the following reasons describe why you currently use/plan to use social media for your company? Q15. Of the following reasons you indicated why you use social media for your company, please indicate how effective social media was in achieving these objectives? (T2B)
  7. Q8 For overall revenue, please indicate whether your business has increased, decreased or stayed the same this year compared to last year?Sig higher proportion of mid size biz report increase/sig increase in overall revenue compared to small biz.Among non-growth: 71% were small businesses; 29% were medium sized businessesAmong growth: 63% were small businesses; 37% were medium sized businessesAmong hyper growth: 50% were small businesses; 50% were medium sized businesses; 50% were medium sized businesses
  8. Q9. For the following marketing activities, can you please indicate if your spend has increased, decreased, or stayed the same this year compared to last year? (T2B) BY Q8. For overall revenue, please indicate whether your business has increased, decreased or stayed the same this year compared to last year? (TB, B3B)
  9. Q15. Of the following reasons you indicated why you use social media for your company, please indicate how effective social media was in achieving these objectives? (T2B)BY Q8. For overall revenue, please indicate whether your business has increased, decreased or stayed the same this year compared to last year? (TB, B3B)Total effectiveness reads from Slide 10:Maintaining company presence: 80%Generate WOM: 80%Deliver content: 86%Advertise to increase awareness: 81%Advertise to generate new leads: 69%
  10. Q26. For which of the following purposes have you turned to social media? Small companies are least likely to have used social media to any of the above reasons. Mid size companies are more likely to gather preliminary information about financial products/policies/solutions, or financial institutions/companies, and recommend a financial product/policy/service to others compared to small companies.
  11. Q27. Which of the following actions, if any, have ever occurredas a result of your hearing or reading something on social media? Mid size companies are sig. more likely to have learned about a financial company/institution their company was not previously aware of, compared to small biz. That’s a growth storySmall biz are sig. less likely to have taken an action as a result of hearing or reading something on social media compared to mid size biz
  12. Q26. For which of the following purposes have you turned to social media? Q27. Which of the following actions, if any, have ever occurredas a result of your hearing or reading something on social media? DiscoveryUse social to gather preliminary information or/andStay up-to-date on financial trends/ products/ companiesConsiderationUse social to seek advice or gather info to make a financial decision or/andevaluate or re-think a financial decision Mass Affluent21% (Disc)32% (Cons)63% (Both)
  13. Q26. For which of the following purposes have you turned to social media? Q27. Which of the following actions, if any, have ever occurredas a result of your hearing or reading something on social media? DiscoveryUse social to gather preliminary information or/andStay up-to-date on financial trends/ products/ companiesConsiderationUse social to seek advice or gather info to make a financial decision or/andevaluate or re-think a financial decision Mass Affluent21% (Disc)32% (Cons)63% (Both)
  14. Q24. If a financial services company were to use social media, what types of information would you expect to receive from it for your company? Q25. Which, if any, of the following do you recall receiving from your financial service provider(s)via social media? High proportions of small biz expected receiving new product information, readily sharable marketing materials, and customer stories and case studies, compared to mid sized biz.
  15. Q23. How open are you to receiving financial content and information from companies you do business with on the following social media sites/services? (T2B)Hyper growth reads:LinkedIn: 69%Facebook: 58%Twitter: 55%Pinterest: 57%Google+: 49%Yelp: 27%
  16. Nearly 3 in 4 agree LinkedIn allows them to build CREDIBILITY.Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn lets them CONNECT with vendors or other companies and allows them to identify credentials of potential partners.Over 2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides for a relevant CONTEXT to promote and advertise their company.Nearly2 in 3 agree LinkedIn provides access to a broader COMMUNITY of other companies to ask questions or seek opinions.Q19. To what extent do you agree with the following statements about LinkedIn, as they relate to your use of social media for your company? (T2B)Small biz are more likely to perceive LinkedIn as a social media site that allows for building credibility, and connecting with vendors or other companies, compared to mid size biz.
  17. Sourcing - Allows me to identify the CREDIBILITYand expertise of potential partners and CONNECT with vendors or other companies Open Innovation - Provides access to a broader COMMUNITYof other companies and thought leaders to seek opinions/recommendations Marketing and Sales - Allows me to buildCREDIBILITYand provides a relevantCONTEXT for me to promote and advertise my companyCustomer Service - Allows me to CONNECT with current customers Q19. To what extent do you agree with the following statements about LinkedIn, as they relate to your use of social media for your company? (T2B)Small biz are more likely to perceive LinkedIn as a social media site that allows for building credibility, and connecting with vendors or other companies, compared to mid size biz.