SMBs might not be sharing the right kind of content to garner engagement.

It’s important that small- and medium-sized business owners use social media content to reach their prospective and existing customers. A recent eMarketer report shows popular networks will only widen their reach in the coming years and by 2016, three out of four people around the world will log in once a month to read social content.

While the majority of new social users are from markets outside of North America, the number of internet users in the United States will climb from 163.5 million in 2013 to 169.5 million next year. Social media users in North America will total 179.4 million by 2016.

To help small businesses leverage social channels to generate leads and increase conversions, ContentLEAD covered a recent Small Business Administration (SBA) Google+ Hangout to celebrate National Small Business Week. Featuring a panel of experts, the event explained the value SMBs gain by participating on major channels like Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Pinterest.

Social media users in North America will total 179.4 million by 2016.

The team of expert explained that developing a strong social media presence may not be as difficult as SMBs make it out to be. Twitter’s Christine Tseng suggests small business owners use their social accounts to bridge the gap between offline and online marketing, explaining that individuals should share updates from their in-person events like conferences. Constant Contact’s Erica Ayotte says social content creation is a snap with smartphones that can quickly publish Tweets and other social content uploads like photos.

Ultimately, SMBs need to use the tools at their disposal to join conversations already taking place online. Social media may be a far cry from traditional offline marketing practices like Yellow Page ads or newspaper inserts, but it has a much wider reach that can generate leads and conversions.