Social media has become a permanent fixture in corporate marketing strategies, with many leading brands spending serious money to reach larger audiences on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The latter has grown into one of the top social networks favoured by brands but it seems that its appeal does not extend to the small business sector, according to the findings of a January study carried out by the Wall Street Journal and Vistage International.

That is not to say small companies do not believe in the potential of social media; they are also eager to expand their social media presence and make use of every platform out there. Among the 835 small business owners participating in the survey, 60% expressed the belief that social media tools were valuable growth drivers. However, the two biggest social media networks, namely Facebook and Twitter, are not perceived as having meaningful potential to promote business growth.

The poll established that 14% of small companies use Twitter regularly but a mere 3% see it as the platform with the greatest potential. In the case of Facebook, 22% reported regular use but only 14% named it as the most useful social network. YouTube did better than both leaders, with 16% declaring it the most promising social media channel.

Where small companies are concerned, no platform comes close to LinkedIn in terms of the potential to help business growth. LinkedIn, which caters to the social media needs of professional people, is used regularly by 30% of small businesses and 41% consider it the most useful platform, the survey found.