Rapidly growing small businesses aren't just using social media to attract new customers and clients, research shows.
A new study from LinkedIn discovered that small and medium-size businesses that are in growth mode rely heavily on social media for multiple activities in their value chain, including finding and researching financial services providers.
"If financial services providers want to build relationships with this desirable sector, social networks offer the most influential and trusted venue," Jennifer Grazel, global head of category development and financial services for LinkedIn, wrote in a recent blog post. "For financial marketers, SMBs' engagement with social media presents a lucrative marketing opportunity."
The study found that 68 percent of small and medium-size businesses use social media for finance-related reasons, such as keeping up to date on financial trends, gathering information about financial companies and products and getting advice on financial decisions.
Overall, 93 percent of the businesses surveyed are driven to take action by information they see on social networks about financial services.
"Given their willingness to market their businesses and seek knowledge within social networks, financial marketers with an eye on SMBs should invest time and resources meeting them where they are," Grazel wrote. "Hearing or reading about a financial services product or service on social media is likely to trigger SMB decision-makers to take further action, whether that means educating themselves, engaging in discussion, or purchasing a product."
In addition, rapidly growing small businesses are using social media for a range of other activities. The businesses are finding social media to be a highly effective way to maintain brand presence and identity a meaningful source of lead generation.
Eight-one percent of small and medium-size businesses surveyed use social media, and of this group, nearly all of them use it to market their businesses. Additionally, nearly half are using social media to connect with their peers, discover best practices, learn from other experts and get answers to their business questions.
The research also shows a high correlation between hyper-growth small and medium-size businesses and their investment in social media, with 73 percent of those in hyper-growth mode having increased their spending on social media.
The study was based on surveys of 998 North American small and medium-size businesses with revenue between $1 million and $50 million.
Originally published on Business News Daily.