Small Biz Chooses Search over SocNets

October 13, 2009

More than three-fourths (76%) of small-business owners have not found social networking sites to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, and 86% say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information, according to a new Citibank/GfK Roper survey.

The survey of 500 small business executives across the US revealed that despite widespread consumer use and increasing marketing efforts on social-media sites? – such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn – among larger organizations, managers in smaller businesses apparently are not jumping on the bandwagon.

Google Trumps

The survey found that general search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo trump social networks, small-business-focused sites and general business destinations such as as places where business owners to seek business advice or information. Some 61% of respondents say they rely on search-engine sites.

Additional survey findings:

  • 42% of small business owners and managers reported that in the past year they have made greater use of their company’s website to generate business leads and sales.
  • Among companies with 20-99 employees, this percentage rises to 57% who report they have made greater use of their website.
  • Survey respondents are also using email marketing (28%) and online advertising (25%) to generate business leads and sales.

A report from Borrell Associates found that small businesses are poised to triple the amount of money they spend on their websites.

“Our survey suggests that small business owners are still feeling their way into social media, particularly when it comes to using these tools to grow their businesses,” said Maria Veltre, EVP of Citi’s Small Business Segment. “While social media can provide additional channels to network and help grow a business, many small businesses may not have the manpower or the time required take advantage of them.”

Things may be poised to change in the future, however. Despite SMB’s continued reliance on and preference for traditional media, a study by Bredin Business Information found that major marketers to SMBs are cutting back on traditional tactics and switching to lower-cost, online marketing to save money.?About the survey: The omnibus poll was conducted for Citibank Small Business via telephone by GFK Roper from August 20-27, 2009 among a sample of 500 small business executives across the US.


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