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Small businesses and social media, our findings

Bibby Financial Services released a report in spring 2014 entitled Livelihood businesses in the UK, you can now download the report here. In this blogpost we intend to look back to the early part of the year and examine some of the findings relating to micro-businesses.

The report is based on studies undertaken by Bibby Financial Services in Q4 2013 and included a survey of over 500 private sector business owners.  The employee numbers of each business surveyed ranged from 0-9 which is the classification for micro-businesses in the UK.

Social Media

Social media marketing had a major buzz around back in 2013 and we wanted to see how small micro-business would react to this new form of marketing. According to a study by Computing in February 2013, SMEs were increasingly using social media for business purposes and when the report was published, it was estimated that up to 56 per cent of businesses with 250 – 499 employees would be using some form of social media by 2014.

For smaller businesses, the Bibby Financial Services micro-business study highlights that 65 per cent use social media for business purposes, with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter forming an unsurprising top three.

How important was social media in Q4 2013

Despite the relatively high number of small business owners using social media, almost three quarters of business owners said that social media was not important to their business strategy, with only nine per cent citing it as ‘very important’.

The management of social media for a business is time consuming and with most micro-businesses having less than four employees (some with none), it’s perhaps understandable that owners seem to be diverting their attention to other promotional avenues or – even more commonly – relying on word of mouth.

Social media was predominantly seen as ‘nice to have’ as opposed to an essential part of business strategy.

Building brand awareness

Used in the right way, however, social media can be an excellent way for small businesses to build brand awareness, develop professional connections and communicate with potential and existing customers.

One of the recommendations of this paper is that small and micro-businesses look to integrate the use of social media in their business strategies – including training for them – and any employees.

When looking at broad sectors, business service enterprises placed the most importance on social media (46%) with only 14 per cent of manufacturing businesses saying that social media is important to their business strategy.

Download the report

Please download the report for more information. On the Bibby Financial Services Blog we’ll be looking back at more findings from the report over the coming weeks so remember to keep checking back to see if our findings proved relevant for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

Contact Bibby Financial Services

As the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist and a trusted provider of cashflow funding to over 7,000 businesses, Bibby Financial Services provides a range of finance solutions for businesses in over 300 industry sectors. For more information about Bibby Financial Services’ cashflow solutions, visit: www.bibbyfinancialservices.com or call 0800 91 95 92.

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