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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 19, 2010

Report: 25% of small businesses are in the social space

Move over nationwide brands, small businesses are headed to the social space. According to a recent report 25% of small businesses now have a branded social network page and 41% are using social networks to advertise and promote their businesses.

by Kristina Knight

The State of the Small Business Report, commissioned by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service, Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, shows that social media use by small businesses has doubled year over year.

"Tough market conditions mandate small businesses to think and act creatively to sustain themselves," says Connie Steele, Director at Network Solutions. "Social media can be the best friend for small business owners who constantly seek new ways to attract new customers and retain the ones they have at a relatively low cost."

Researchers found:

• 75% of small businesses have a social networking page
• 61% use soc-nets to 'identify and attract' new customers
• 47% have used social media to find new products for customers
• Half report social media 'takes more time' than they expected
• 17% believe

"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."

A recent report from The Nielsen Company shows why so many businesses are moving into the social space: consumers are there. For the month of January researchers found that typical Facebook users spent 7 hours on-site for the month. Compared to time spent with news and search hubs, Facebook is 7 times as popular. On average consumers spent one hour or less with news, search and shopping hubs such as Amazon and eBay.

The report also shows that consumers are spending more time (3.8% increase) actively using the Internet.

Tags: Facebook, Network Solutions, small business advertising, social marketing, social networks, social trends, The Nielsen Company

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