WSJ Survey: LinkedIn the Preferred SMB Social Media Platform

The Wall Street Journal recently sponsored a survey of 835 small business CEOs. The firms surveyed had at least $1 million but no more than $20 million in annual revenues. There was no discussion of headcount. The SMBs surveyed were from a range of industries.

LinkedIn was the favorite social media site among these respondents. The companion article is mostly about how Twitter hasn’t caught on among small businesses.

WSJ social media SMB survey

Source: WSJ/Vistage International, 835 small business (1/13)

The survey doesn’t seem to explore WHY these businesses found LinkedIn the most useful or valuable social media site.

What’s curious to me is that there are very few consumers who look to LinkedIn as a source for business information. However if a majority of these SMBs are B2B oriented (this was not a random sample of SMBs) these results would make more sense.

A Manta SMB survey published in September of last year also found that LinkedIn was highly ranked and second only to Facebook as the social site perceived to be driving the most business:

Which online/social channels are driving the most business for you? (top three requested)

  • My company web site — 24%
  • Facebook — 19%
  • LinkedIn — 12%
  • Google+ — 10%
  • Manta — 9%
  • Twitter — 5%
  • Pinterest — 1%
  • Groupon — <1%
  • My company mobile site/app — 2%
  • Other online/mobile channel — 8%

What do you think? Do you think there’s a major disconnect between these businesses focused on LinkedIn and their customers? Or do you think these businesses are actually getting value from LinkedIn?

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4 Responses to “WSJ Survey: LinkedIn the Preferred SMB Social Media Platform”

  1. Rodney Goldston says at

    Hi Greg, I don’t think there is a major disconnect I think there’s more than just one way to measure usefulness and the value they may get.  

    For example it’s obviously a lot easier to find potential employees via Linkedin than the other social networks (so SMB’s may consider it more useful for that purpose).  

    Also I think Linkedin is more conducive to finding B2B clients via networking with other folks in your Linkedin network. Simply ask someone you have a direct connection with to introduce you to someone you’d like to do business with.  

    Where I think there is a tremendous amount of disconnect is that many small business invest more time in social media platforms like FB and Linkedin and not enough in their own blogs.  

  2. Greg Sterling says at


    You make an excellent point about finding employees, which I hadn’t thought of. I do get the B2B angle. And I agree that SMBs need to develop their own content assets. 

    It’s just a lot to ask them to do everything all at once. 

  3. Perry says at

    I don’t know many small businesses focused on consumer markets that would refer to themselves as a “firm” (reference the question posed) – the survey is a leading indicator that the question was targeted at professional services and/or B2B segments.

    Could infer the same for calling the small business owner the “CEO”.

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    Agree. And the revenue range is reflective of a different  sort of small business

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