BMO Bank of Montreal
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BMO Bank of Montreal

May 14, 2015 06:00 ET

Nearly Half of Canadian Small Business Owners Now Use Social Media for Their Businesses: BMO Report

- Majority of business owners have an understanding of how social media works, with Millennials leading the way at 93 per cent

- Over one third (35 per cent) use social media for marketing purposes

- One-in-ten (11 per cent) business owners are using social media to listen to customer feedback and understand the changing business environment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 14, 2015) - A new report from BMO Bank of Montreal revealed that nearly half (45 per cent) of small businesses operate a company social media account, and the majority (74 per cent) understand how it works. However, many business owners appear to be missing out on one of the key benefits social media has to offer - listening.

"It's encouraging to see that business owners are using the social space for marketing and communicating purposes. However, only 11 per cent are using it to listen, which is valuable to track competitors or trends and grow their businesses," said Steve Murphy, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Business owners need to take advantage of the benefits of social media as a means to communicate both to and with their customers in order to learn new business strategies."

The report found that of those small business owners who own a social media account, 35 per cent of them operate it themselves, while 58 per cent leave it to someone else to manage.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed that the majority of small business owners use social media for the following:

  • Over one third (35 per cent) use it to promote products or services
  • Almost one quarter (22 per cent) said it allows them to communicate with customers
  • One fifth said it helps find prospective customers
  • Almost one fifth (17 per cent) said it helps build a corporate reputation

Mr. Murphy noted that businesses need to recognize when creating a business plan the significance of the social space when planning and budgeting for the year ahead.

Keeping up with the Millennials: how social-savvy are today's business owners?

Millennial business owners are leading the way in embracing social media as a means to conduct business activities, but the report found that business owners of all ages are embracing the social space for their businesses:

  • Majority (78 per cent) of Millennial business owners operate a social media account
  • Almost half (42 per cent) of Boomer business owners have an account
  • Over one third (36 per cent) of business owners 65+ have a social media account for their company

Additionally, when asked their level of understanding of how a social media account actually works, Millennial business owners were the most confident in their skills:

Total 18-39 40-64 65+
Have an understanding of social media 74 % 93 % 74 % 60 %
Do not understand social media 26 % 7 % 26 % 40 %

Over half (56 per cent) of Millennials said they have gotten great ideas for their business from social media, and 64 per cent plan to make major changes or investments to their online presence in the coming years. In comparison, over half of business owners aged 40-64 (52 per cent) and 53 per cent of those aged 65+ plan to invest in their online presence in the coming years.

BMO Small Business Banking offers advice and insights on small business through their LinkedIn page. To learn more on how a BMO expert can help you easily manage financial and every day business needs, please click here.

Results cited above come from a Pollara telephone survey with 502 Canadian business owners, conducted between February 20th and March 11th, 2015. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $672 billion as of January 31, 2015, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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