- Facebook is the most popular advertising platform for small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. despite recent controversies including a boycott. Eighty-eight percent of these businesses use the social network for advertising and marketing, ahead of its sister app Instagram (52%), LinkedIn (35%), Twitter (26%), Yelp (15%), Pinterest (11%), TikTok (5%), Snapchat (3%) and Reddit (2%), per new research from Borrell Associates.
- More than half (60%) of small and medium-sized businesses described social media as a "necessary evil" to promote their business, while 47% said it's the best place to reach their customers and 45% said social media metrics are easy to understand. Another 40% said social media targeting is accurate, per Borrell.
- Forty percent of surveyed businesses have been posting more frequently on social media during the pandemic, with 24% saying they've shared live videos. Twenty percent said they increased their social media spending, with 55% cutting budgets from other media channels such as newspapers and radio. Borrell surveyed 210 small and medium-sized businesses during the last two weeks of July.
Small and medium-sized businesses appear undeterred by last month's boycott of Facebook by major advertisers as several civil rights groups urged marketers to avoid the platform in protest of its policies on hate speech. About two-thirds of survey respondents said negative news cycles don't affect their social media marketing, and only 1% said they "try to follow what big brands do." That finding should be encouraging to Facebook, which has said it boasts 8 million advertisers worldwide, giving it a diverse revenue base to withstand temporary boycotts by major advertisers.
By describing social media as a "necessary evil," many smaller businesses are indicating ambivalence toward the platforms, but that sentiment doesn't appear likely to affect their marketing plans. With almost half of survey respondents describing social media as the best place to reach customers, it would be difficult for them to reduce a social media presence without taking a hit to business. A significant number are doing the opposite by posting more frequently and trying out new formats like live video to reach people. Social networks give them inexpensive and user-friendly tools to create content with a small budget, the study suggests.
Small and medium-sized businesses are likely to prioritize social media marketing through a combination of ramping up post frequency and spending on the platforms, even as their outlook on the economy sours. The portion of business owners who expect economic conditions to worsen doubled to half of survey respondents in July from the prior month. The political environment and the possibility of extended pandemic lockdowns were cited as top reasons for their grim outlook.