Social media has been a point of contention for many small businesses for a long time. It can be difficult to know exactly how much the technology can improve a company. At the same time, with changing customer demographics, it's becoming more important to have at least some online presence. Meeting this midway point should be the goal for many small businesses in the near future.

Small business social media demographics
According to Business 2 Community, a business should first turn to the most popular social networks for its needs. In a recent survey of users from the news source, 88 percent of respondents noted that they used Facebook. Twitter took second place with 67 percent, while LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ filled out the top five.

Following recent trends in small business, it's important not to spend too much time on the sites, as their use can be cost-effective only to a certain extent. As many as 84 percent of businesses spend less than 10 hours a week using social media, while 61 percent aren't using these services more than six hours a week. Meeting that increasing need is an important part of using the service.

It's also smart to consider the budgets and potential tools that social media sites require. Almost 56 percent of business owners used third-party tools to manage social media, which helped marketing budgets remain low. Only about a fourth of businesses spent more in 2013 than they did in 2012 on these services, highlighting the ease of use.

Better driving sales
As important as social media can be to a small business, Small Business Trends noted it's important to drive sales through the platform as well, recommending a number of formats to boost revenue. Facebook Advertising, for instance, allows for direct tracking of the effectiveness of a specific advertisement from page clicks to demographic targeting. Facebook Giveaways can be another lead generator, drawing customers toward a company because they may find something new to enjoy after receiving a prize or coupon.

Twitter stands as a strong advertising platform as well, as it offers plenty of advertisement opportunities. Once a user runs a campaign, he or she can get direct tracking to see just how many impressions, engagements and purchases the ad generated.

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