American small businesses are pushing the limits on new ways to improve efficiency in the prolonged downturn, including a steady increase in social media adoption according to results of a study from the Small Business Success Index™ (SBSI) sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business . The SBSI reports social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent in the last year.
The SBSI found that nearly one out of five small business owners are actively using social media in their business. Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles. The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement, including identifying and attracting new customers, building brand awareness and staying engaged with customers. Sixty-one percent of the respondents indicated that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.
“Social media levels the playing field for small businesses by helping them deliver customer service,” says Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Time spent on Twitter®, Facebook® and blogs is an investment in making it easier for small businesses to compete.”
Small business owners use social media to attract new customers:
- 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
- 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
- 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
- 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months
Small business owners still have concerns with social media:
- 50% of small business social media users say it takes more time than expected
- 17% express that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet
- Only 6% feel that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it
To download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success, visit www.growsmartbusiness.com.
Has your business adopted social media? What is your company doing? What have been the results so far?