Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Business owners share their preferred social media platforms for research and marketing

How do business owners identify their own niche and competition – and which platform do they use to target their potential customers? It is certainly not LinkedIn, according to a new survey.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor on

Businesses owners – especially small business owners – are often unsure where, or even who their competition is.

Of course every business is in competition with mega businesses such as Walmart, and particularly Amazon during the pandemic, yet, according to a new survey, entrepreneurs do not feel that they compete with these businesses.

West Chester, PA-based online invoice generator platform Skynova spoke to 536 business owners about how they identify their competition and how they target audiences.

It identified the methods that business owners swear by to maintain their competitive edge, and ineffective tactics used.

The survey showed that most micro-businesses (70%) used social media to research the competition, whereas just over half of larger businesses (54%) did so, preferring to use Google or Yelp.

And Facebook leads the way when it comes to researching the competition using social media. Seven in 10 businesses use Facebook for research and 49% use Instagram.

One in three (36%) use Twitter to identify and research the competition and one in three (33%) use the business platform LinkedIn. Only one in four (25%) use YouTube for research.

Of course more expensive analysis tools are used – but these are mainly used by larger businesses.

Social media activities were also credited for attracting new customers and retaining customers (40%), and generating buzz (46%).

Social media advertising was not considered to be effective to attract new customers (15%), and retain customers (11%). Generating buzz using influencer marketing only scored 8% in the survey.

Only 1 In 3 business owners Use LinkedIn for marketing - so which platform do they prefer zdnet

Although micro and small businesses reckoned that social media posts were very effective tools to be more competitive (39%), over half (57%) of larger businesses thought the tools were very effective.

The survey also showed that over two in three (68%) of entrepreneurs felt no competition with Walmart or Amazon – even though Amazon dominates the digital marketplace surpassing Walmart as the worlds largest retailer in 2019.

Only 3.2% felt that they competed with Walmart or Amazon. Micro (83%) and small (77%) businesses felt that they did not compete.

Amazon controls 45% of ecommerce market share, and post-pandemic, this is expected to increase to 50% in 2021.

But niche business owners selling niche products can gain a foothold by focusing on their brand uniqueness, and customer retention.

If a customer buys your niche product they are far more likely to come back to you again.

And if that niche product is regularly advertised on Facebook with a strong call to action to direct customers to the specialised website – there is a good chance that the business can steal a march on companies as large as Amazon – regardless of which platform is used to market that product.

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