Social media is more important than ever for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to increase awareness of their brand and generate new leads. New research from LinkedIn highlights this move towards these online communication channels for growth: of the 81% of SMBs using social networks, 94% do so for marketing purposes.

Not only that, but ‘hyper growth’ companies saw a significant year over year revenue growth thanks to social media, resulting in nearly three quarters of companies increasing their social media budgets last year. LinkedIn partnered with TNS (market research firm) for the study which gathered information from 998 SMBs in the US and Canada.

Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, Lana Khavinson, said: “We know for SMBs the greatest challenge is attracting and retaining customers. Here is a really clear indicator of the value that social media is providing to companies that are rapidly growing.”

Social is the way forward for SMBs

Combined with this, data is highly important to LinkedIn, whose millions of members are small business entrepreneurs. The social network has recently announced a new website dedicated to helping SMBs better utilise LinkedIn for growth and marketing purposes, which will be interesting to see once it is launched.

Other social media channels like Facebook are hot on the heels of LinkedIn attracting small business advertising. The platform has more than 1 million advertisers but 25 million businesses have active Facebook pages, meaning a lot of this area hasn’t yet been tapped into for potential ad revenue. Meanwhile Twitter has expanded its self-serve advertising platform overseas to try and entice SMBs in Canada, the UK and Ireland, as a result of seeing value in reaching smaller advertisers.

It will be interesting to see over time which of the channels is most suitable an successful in the SMB domain, both in the UK and US. Here’s our Company Page on LinkedIn if you’re not following it already, for all the latest news and updates in the world of business insurance.