Social Media Becoming Marketing Tool for Small Business

Daily Finance columnist, Alex Salkever, recently emphasized a key detail that many small business owners (SMBs) have discovered. “Social media offers most of the benefits of a website with few of the headaches.” This 233363_haleiwastatement is based on Salkever’s analysis of the survey results published by Internet2Go. The survey, designed to reveal SMBs attitudes about advertising and marketing, indicated that  nearly half of small business owners, especially those with Internet experience, are using Twitter or Facebook.

According to the Internet2Go survey, small businesses identified the following as top media forms they use to actively market themselves:

  • Online newspaper site: 10%
  • Online yellow pages: 9%
  • Online video: 10%
  • Local radio: 9%
  • Banner advertising: 11%
  • Traditional newspaper: 7%

The firms responding to this survey are well aware of the need to use online marketing. But over 1 in 4 of the SMB owners believes that online marketing is too expensive. Keep in mind that this is a population that spends, for the most part, less than $5,000 a year on marketing. Currently, over 90% of the firms in the survey indicate they have a Web site. As Salkever reports, establishing and maintaining a Web site can cost between $500 and $2,000.  So far, maintaining a Facebook or Twitter presence requires no cash outley. Survey respondents indicate that  they are adept at using social media and report taking the following actions to monitor  their business online.

  • Visit specific review Web sites 47%
  • Search on their business name 44%

Salkever ponders whether the new focus on social media might cause small business owners to forego their formal Web sites.  A shift like this, he predicts, could hurt the Googles of the online marketing world. His prediction may be a bit optimistic because only 1 in 5  Internet2Go survey respondents said they thought a profile on a social network was an effective marketing tool. But if those results change, more SMBs could begin to commit financial resources to social media.

[Sources: Sterling, Greg. Social Media Gaining with Small Business, Internet2Go, 10.15.09; Salkever, Alex. Watch out Google and Adobe, Daily Finance, 10.16.09]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.