Internet and digital platforms play a key role in the discovery of small and medium businesses, as well as in consumers’ purchase decision. As consumers turn to digital media for researching products and services, businesses already recognize and embrace this opportunity in the digital environment. As of 2016, about 45 percent of small and medium owners in the U.S. believed a digital presence is very important for their businesses, and around 43 percent stated that it is important. According to 77 percent of small and medium enterprises owners, a digital presence helps with customer acquisition. About 63 percent of them stated that a digital presence could also improve the image of the enterprise. In the future, nearly 60 percent of small and medium business owners plan to invest on a new website or improve the one they already have. As of 2016, investing in social media marketing is the intention of about 45 percent of small and medium business owners for their digital future.
Social media is indeed one of the main investments made by many brands and companies. In 2016, around 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies were on LinkedIn, about 86 percent maintained an active Twitter account and 84 percent stated being on Facebook. It was found that 67 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a YouTube account as well. Blogs are also part of some companies’ digital strategies. About 36 percent of Fortune 500 companies had a public blog, registering a growth in comparison to the 2012 figure, when only 28 percent of the companies had a blog. This share is significant higher among the top 200 Fortune companies; about 50 percent of these companies had a public corporate blog in 2016.
Aside of branding and customer acquisition, social media is also helping companies find talent. Online recruitment is a major part of their digital media usage. About 92 percent of companies and recruiters in the U.S. used social media for hiring talent in 2015. LinkedIn is by far the most used social network for recruiting according to HR professionals in the U.S. About 87 percent of HR professionals stated using this platform for recruiting. In comparison, about 43 percent of HR professionals turned to Facebook for recruiting purposes. LinkedIn is considered by recruiters as the most effective social network for hiring candidates as well, as about 73 percent HR professionals have successfully hired candidates via this social network. American HR professionals are also experimenting with mobile recruiting features targeting smartphone users; 39 percent of HR professionals stated optimizing career websites for mobile users.
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