Business Owners and Social Media


When social media began its assault on the American way of life, it was solely the purview of young users.

Today, social media is a part of everyday life and is employed by Americans of almost all ages. It is also a significant ingredient in the success of all businesses, big or small.

Our new research study, Serving Business Owners, examines the attitudes and concerns of America’s Business Owners in all aspects of their lives running their own business and their own personal financial state. Because it is 2016, social media plays a role in the success of most businesses.

But not all. A surprising percentage of Business Owners eschew social media in their marketing efforts. Our research shows that based on age and gender segmentation, there is a large difference in the usage of social media.

“Business Owners spend a significant amount of time and energy in promoting their business, and social media makes it easier to reach a large audience,’’ said Spectrem President George H. Walper Jr. “Some social media websites are better than others at consumerism, and some Business Owners are more aware of the advantages of working within the social media framework than others.”

Facebook remains the most ubiquitous of social media sites, and 71 percent of Business Owners under the age of 46 use Facebook in their public relations efforts. However, only 50 percent of Business Owners between the ages of 46 and 60 do so, while only 35 percent of Business Owners over the age of 61 do so.

LinkedIn is more used for business-to-business communication, but is still a site used to promote business offerings. Although only 62 percent of the youngest Business Owners used LinkedIn in public relations, 38 percent of the oldest Business Owners do so, a slight increase above the use of Facebook for that segment.

Because of its format, Twitter requires a bit more day-to-day, hour-to-hour communication. Fifty percent of the youngest Business Owners use Twitter for public relations, while only 25 percent of those between the ages of 46-60 do so and only 19 percent of those over the age of 61 use Twitter.

Despite the fact that some Business Owners choose not to use those forms of communication for public relations, their use is in most cases above the uses of other forms of media. For instance, television advertising for all Business Owners ranges at just above 10 percent, and billboard advertising comes in at under 10 percent for all Business Owners (with young Business Owners leading the pack in that category).

Radio advertising has a slightly higher usage rate, topping out at 18 percent of Business Owners over the age of 60.

Despite cries that print media is dying, approximately 35 percent of all Business Owners use newspapers or magazines for public relations purposes, topped by 39 percent of those Business Owners between the ages of 46 and 60. Even 27 percent of the youngest Business Owners still employ print media for PR purposes.