Over the past few decades, new technologies have enabled small businesses to expand their customer base and sell products and services beyond their local communities. The internet has provided an efficient forum for businesses to sell directly to consumers, and more recently, small businesses have been able to use digital and other technologies to enhance their marketing, customer service, and ability to create customized products and services.
In today’s digital and mobile world, social networking systems have also become an important tool to help small businesses access new customers, drive sales, and increase customer satisfaction. As consumers increasingly use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to find and compare local goods and services, small businesses have new avenues in which they can interact with customers and market themselves. In a case study, Facebook and its affiliated products—Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp—provide critical platforms for businesses to reach a wider audience and to connect directly with their customers.
To better understand the scope of how small businesses use Facebook and its products, the U.S. Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center and Facebook partnered with Ipsos, a global market and opinion research firm, to conduct a survey of almost 4,000 owners and employees of small businesses in the United States. The survey was conducted over two weeks during August and September 2019, and included businesses in urban, suburban, small town, and rural areas across the country (see the appendix for details regarding survey respondents and methodology).
The results of our survey show that Facebook is a widely used platform among small businesses, and that the majority find Facebook’s products to be important to their business. Small businesses use Facebook’s products for a variety of reasons, including marketing, communication with customers, and providing general information about their business. Many small businesses report that Facebook has helped them achieve positive outcomes, including increased customer satisfaction and growing sales.
The survey also demonstrates the importance of small businesses having the necessary training and knowledge to use Facebook’s suite of products. About half of small businesses report that they have employees dedicated to managing their Facebook or Instagram accounts, and businesses are increasingly seeking proficiency in online technology and applications when interviewing job applicants.
1. Small Business GDP 1998-2014. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. December 2018.
2. 2018 Small Business Profile. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. April 24th, 2019