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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 17, 2011

Report: 80% increase in socnet use from SMBs

In the world of small business, newspaper and radio may still be the go-to advertising methods, but online is taking up more and more time and ad dollars. Especially social media marketing, according to one new report. Researchers have found that 73% of SMBs have now used social networks to advertise their businesses and that 80% have increased their socnet usage over the past year.

by Kristina Knight

constantcontact.gifAlthough social networks haven't proven to be a huge impetus to buy products or increase traffic for small businesses, managers and owners continue to push time and effort into the social space because consumers continue to congregate there. Constant Contact's Small Business Attitudes and Outlooks Survey found:

• 80% of small businesses have increased their socnet usage in the last year
• 95% are using Facebook with 82% reporting that Facebook is 'an effective tool' to market their business
• 47% find Twitter effective, 47% find LinkedIn effective
• 73% find YouTube effective

"The value proposition that social media marketing offers to small business makes it a no brainer for time- and resource-starved small businesses. They simply need coaching and know how to use those tools in the best way possible," said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. "Email is still the most obvious choice to make sure your message gets out, and social media puts that message in front of a wider audience. We like to say that email lights the fire, while social media fans the flames."

Are these small businesses fooling themselves? Likely not, because they look at social media as complimentary to an overall online strategy rather than pushing all of their efforts into the social space, a key point according to several experts. SMBs are continuing to use email (91%), websites (95%), print (77%) and online (69%) methods to engage consumers with their products and services.

SMBs are looking forward with greater hope, according to the survey. As consumer confidence rises, SMBs confidence in the economy is also improving. SMBs are looking for new ways to engage consumers to grow their business, they are looking for ways to make their dollars stretch and to get new business referrals.

Tags: Constant Contact, small business, small business trends, SMB advertising, social marketing, social media

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