Social media is becoming more popular among small-business owners, and many will be spending more on advertising, marketing and new business development in 2011, which will also impact the amount of resources devoted to social media.
More than 55% of small-business owners view Facebook as somewhat or very beneficial to their business, according to data from Ad-ology, which surveyed 752 US small-business owners. Other sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, also received nods from small-business owners, while group-buying sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial were lower on the list. Additionally, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all saw significant increases in the percentage of small-business owners who view them as beneficial compared to last year. In the prior year’s survey, only 33.2% of respondents called Facebook somewhat or very beneficial, and only 18.5% said the same of Twitter.
Just as several social media sites are useful to small businesses, there are also many objectives companies find social media outreach useful for. Lead generation was the top benefit reported, selected by 57.2% of small-business owners. Ad-ology also found 54% of small-business owners highlighted monitoring what is being said about their businesses. Improving customer experience was another reported benefit of social media.
In a separate survey, Manta, an online community for promoting and connecting small businesses, found that 42% of small-business owners consider social media useful in connecting with consumers. Twenty-three percent of those same small-business owners also reported that they plan to make advertising and marketing their No. 1 priority expenditure for 2011, while 24% plan to prioritize new business development.
As social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn prove themselves beneficial to small businesses within several areas of their companies, small-business owners will keep social media in mind as they plan to increase spending in 2011.
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