Survey: How small and medium-sized businesses benefit from their Twitter presence

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Every day, people who own small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) ask us how Twitter can help them. Because they’re often strapped for time and resources, they want proof that their efforts on Twitter can lead to real business results. To help understand the value of Twitter for SMBs, we asked global research firm Market Probe International to survey 500 people over age 18, across several verticals in the US and UK, who currently follow SMBs on Twitter. We think the findings are useful to many kinds of small and medium-sized businesses.

Here’s the full study; the key findings follow.

 How small and medium sized businesses benefit from their Twitter presence infographic

1. Followers drive sales and recommendations.

People are more likely (72%) to make a future purchase from an SMB after they follow or interact with them on Twitter. We also see a lift (30%) in people who are likely to recommend. Why do recommendations matter? Because they drive traffic: 86% of respondents said they are more likely to visit an SMB if a friend recommends them.

Takeaway: Not only can followers turn into customers, they can also help spread the word about you, leading to even more customers.

2. Followers feel an emotional connection to SMBs.

One of the top reported reasons (63%) that people follow SMBs is to show support for that business. Most people (85%) also say that they feel more connected to an SMB after they follow them. This may explain why followers of SMBs are more likely to purchase from and recommend them.

Takeaway: Twitter helps SMBs connect with new and existing customers in feel-good ways. Thank your followers for their support with special offers that are only available to Twitter users.

3. Followers want to be in the know and offer feedback.

A common reason people follow SMBs is to get updates on future products (73%). But they also want to do more than just consume information on Twitter; they want to share ideas and get feedback through interactions (61%). As an SMB, these may be the very same reasons you decided to use Twitter for your business in the first place.

Takeaway: Deepen connections with current followers and attract new ones by giving them what they want: Invite followers to share their ideas by asking questions and respond when they offer feedback. Satisfy curiosity about new products by offering sneak peeks exclusively on Twitter.

4. Marketing with Twitter helps you reach more customers.

One-third (34%) of respondents say they have interacted with an SMB after seeing an ad that included the business’s Twitter handle. People who see a Promoted Tweet from an SMB that relates to their interests or needs are also more likely (32%) to visit that business.

Takeaway: Twitter Ads can help you extend the reach of your messages beyond your current follower base and find others who are also interested in your business.

The study confirms that people want to hear from and interact with SMBs on Twitter. Not only that, if you invite ideas from your followers, acknowledge and respond to their feedback and inform them about new offerings, they’ll be more likely to help you grow your business through purchases and recommendations.