How to Succeed in Business Using Social Media


Is using social media now required in order to succeed in business? Increasingly, the answer is yes. However, not all social sites perform equally well for businesses. Your clients will need your help to find their social sweet spot.

Social Media Use Rates

Dr. Barnes, at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has long studied social media use by businesses. She recently published her findings for 2019.

For businesses listed on the Inc. 500, the social media use by site in 2019 broke out as follows:

  • LinkedIn 87%
  • Facebook 82%
  • Twitter 68%
  • Instagram 52%
  • YouTube 42%

It’s worth noting that, in the past two years, the Twitter use rate among the Inc. 500 dropped from 79% to 68%. During the same time period, more businesses started using Instagram. In 2017, about 38% of businesses used the site, but last year, that number was 52%. When looking at the Fortune 500, researchers found that 73% of those businesses use Instagram. Researchers note that for businesses engaged in attracting consumer attention, the visual nature of Instagram makes a difference.

Using Social Media to Succeed

LinkedIn and Facebook rule as effective social sites for businesses. While Facebook ads can connect with target audiences, LinkedIn works at another level. Posts by senior executives and sales reps on this site attract attention and can help an organization position itself as a thought leader on a specific topic. This positioning can connect your clients to potential leads.

Businesses are bullish on social media with 94% believing these formats make great brand building tools. And 84% say the formats also generate leads. However, smaller percentages say that social media is effective (80%) or necessary for success (81%).

Business owners are well aware of the costs associated with a social media campaign and that’s why 40% are concerned about the issue. Similarly, 44% worry that the return on investment isn’t high enough.

Marketing Plans for 2020

As it becomes harder to stand apart from the competition, 53% of business leaders expect to pay for social media ads. Businesses that participated in this study plan to increase spending as follows this year:

  • Website enhancements 67%
  • Email marketing 51%
  • Software for tracking customers 37%
  • Paid ads on social sites 53%
  • Public relations 47%
  • Print advertising 20%

With so many businesses now focusing on social media, you can help clients improve outcomes. Start by running a digital audit on them and show them which social sites their target audiences are using. The tool is available at AdMall from SalesFuel.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.