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How Can Social Media Help Small Biz?

Lead generation is top business benefit

Small businesses are set to increase the time and effort they spend on social media marketing, but research on its effectiveness has been mixed. In a survey from Citibank, for example, the majority of small-business executives found social networks no good for expanding their business.

But according to the “Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” from Ad-ology, lead generation is the biggest benefit of social networking for US small businesses, cited by one-half of respondents. Social networks were also considered a good way to keep up with the industry and monitor online chatter about the business.

Small businesses rated Facebook the most beneficial social networking site, with one-third of respondents reporting it was at least somewhat helpful. It was also the social network most likely to be used. Use of LinkedIn was less common, but the business-oriented site was claimed as beneficial by 21% of small businesses, compared with 19% that said the same of Twitter.

While awareness of social media is high among small businesses, education is still needed. Nearly one-half of respondents wished they knew more about the channel, and some of the biggest obstacles to doing more with social networking included a lack of knowledge.

The No 1. roadblock, however, was the perception that “our customers do not use social networks,” claimed by 31% of small businesses. Nearly as many complained that they did not have the time or staff available to do a good job with social network marketing.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Overcoming Multichannel Hurdles.”

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