Social Media adoption by U.S. small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year. If you are a small business owner or service professional this is a must read. These are the results from a study that was done by University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business by conducting a telephone survey of 500 small business owners in December 2009.
How Small Business is using Social Media
Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles.
Small business owner, Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO and founder of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, was forced to consider alternative options to keep his business visible during the tough economic conditions last year.
He said: “With a very small investment in social media marketing, I was able to generate new business opportunities. Our Google® ranking is consistently number one for many of the phrases people use to search for eye doctors in and around my city and our new visitors to the site have increased. My blog has been picked up by different news sources and led to media interviews. I am now recognized as a thought leader in social networking within my profession and lastly but most importantly, my marketing budget has been reduced by more than 80%.”
Social Media popular sites
Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular social media sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.
Another interesting notion is that small business owners now believe social media can help them on the lead generation front, and that is the primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels. So while half of surveyed respondents found the time it takes to use social media sites more daunting than expected, 61% are still putting in the hours and making active efforts to identify new customers.
Clearly social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses. While we expect more small businesses to use Twitter as a customer service channel in the year ahead, as it stands, Facebook and LinkedIn have become the predominant platforms for small business owners.
Social Media sources and usage
As the graphic below details, the small business owners who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75%) and status updates (69%) on Facebook or LinkedIn. What’s especially intriguing is that a much smaller percentage of respondents — just 16% — are using Twitter.
Social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses. Small business owners mainly use social media to identify and attract new customers. As validated by this Small Business Success Index, social media can be the best friend for small business owners who constantly seek new ways to maximize productivity while keeping costs low.
If you are a small business owner interested in finding out how your business can start using social media marketing, use our Social Media Starter Project kit to become social media active and to maintain your online presence for return on investment within a few months.
About Robert H. Smith School of Business:
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. A detailed copy of the report can be found at www.growsmartbusiness.com