Friday, October 9, 2009

Small Biz Missing the Boat on Social Media

Small business is ignoring one of the most cost-effective, targeted means of reaching new customers and keeping current clients: social media.

Take a look at this excerpt from a story posted by Reuters:

Few U.S. small businesses have adopted social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for business uses, according to research released Thursday.

Three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business in the past year, according to a survey conducted for Citibank Small Business of 500 U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Also, 86 percent said they have not used social networking sites for information or business advice. Ten percent said they have sought business advice and information on expert blogs.

The low number of small businesses using such sites for business purposes was unexpected, particularly as social media use has grown overall, said Maria Veltre, executive vice president of Citi's Small Business segment. Citibank is part of Citigroup Inc.

"We were very surprised we did not see more use of some of the social media outlets, even if just for advice," she said.

"What this survey indicates to us is small businesses are very, very focused on running their business and on generating sales and managing their cash flow and doing the things that are really important, especially in these economic times," Veltre said. "I don't think quite yet the social media piece of it has proven to be as significant."

The survey found 42 percent of small businesses have made greater use of their company websites to generate business leads and sales.
The Sauce

Small businesspersons ignore social media at their peril...

Not a lot of analysis needed here. Small business is missing out on some heavy artillery by ignoring social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

As a small businessperson, I get it that people are very focused on the nuts and bolts of running the business and keeping afloat. But social media--with a relatively small investment in time--can be a major boon to stabilizing or even increasing business.

It's all part of the religion we preach about being proactive in an economic downturn. If you're not using every tool available to reach new customers and keep current customers you may "save" some funds and effort now, but I assure you, you're going to pay later.