Small businesses bank on social media

A new survey finds small and midsize businesses are turning more to social media promotion than to other channels; how does this affect marketing and PR pros? 

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Social media is now the top target for marketing dollars for small and midsize businesses, beating out billboards and traditional advertising, according to a survey conducted by research firm BIA/Kelsey.

The firm surveyed 550 small and midsize businesses—all companies with 100 employees or fewer—and found that about 75 percent use social media for promotional purposes.

These businesses aren’t using social media sporadically. Survey respondents reported spending 21.4 percent of their total media budget on social media in the past year, compared with the 18.5 percent spent on print and outdoor advertising.

Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey, told Advertising Age:

Social [media] is now the dominant media category for SMBs. It’s a convenient and user-friendly platform by which they can connect with their local market. It’s very inexpensive—which is a big deal—and there are low participation barriers.

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