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Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.
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Small Business Social Media Adoption Doubles Since 2009

February 16th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

It seems that small business are mainly using social media to identify and attract new customers. That is that big take away from the most recent edition of the Small Business Success Index™ (SBSI). This third wave of the report, sponsored by Network Solutions® and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business reports social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent in the last year.

From the press release, “American small businesses are pushing the limits on new ways to improve efficiency in the prolonged downturn, including a steady increase in social media adoption.”

It goes on to quote Connie Steele, Director at Network Solutions, “Tough market conditions mandate small businesses to think and act creatively to sustain themselves”. “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.”

Also from the report, the SBSI found that nearly one out of five small business owners are actively using social media in their business. Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles. The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement, including identifying and attracting new customers, building brand awareness and staying engaged with customers.  Sixty-one percent of the respondents indicated that they use social media to identify and attract new customers. Listen to a podcast on how small businesses are leveraging social media for customer engagement at http://bit.ly/JayEhret

“In order to meet the growing challenges of a tough market last year, I was forced to consider alternative options to keep my business visible,” says small business owner, Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO and Founder, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care. “With a very small investment in social media marketing, I was able to generate new business opportunities. Our Google® ranking is consistently number one for many of the phrases people use to search for eye doctors in and around my city, and we have received a “bump” in terms of new visitors to the site.  My blog has been picked up by different news sources and led to media interviews. I am now recognized as a thought leader in social networking within my profession and lastly but most importantly, my marketing budget has been reduced by more than 80 percent.”

Small business owners use social media to attract new customers:

  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months

Small business owners still have concerns with social media:

  • 50% of small business social media users say it takes more time than expected
  • 17% express that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet
  • Only 6% feel that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it

“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.”

In addition to tracking how small business owners use technology, the SBSI Index measures how they are doing in six key areas of business: capital access, marketing and innovation, workforce, customer service, computer technology and compliance.  Other key findings from the December 2009 Small Business Success Index include:

Small businesses experience positive effects from the economic downturn:

  • 72%  have found ways to operate more efficiently (up significantly from 66% in June)
  • 47% have been led to find new products and services that benefit customers
  • 43% have become better teams as hard times force people to work together

Building online presence continues to be key focus for small businesses:

  • Company Web sites are a top technology investment in the next two years, with small businesses either adding new features/functionality to their existing Web sites or building one from scratch.
  • The ability to showcase their products and services online to attract new customers is second in the hierarchy of technology investments small business owners plan to make in the next two years.
  • Social media investments rank third in small business investments to be made in the next two years.

Small business owners interested in finding out how your business can start using social media should join us for a Tweet Chat #sbbuzz on Feb 23rd, 8-10PM (EST). Anita Campbell, Editor of Small Business Trends, will moderate the discussion to provide additional insight on how to effectively use social networks to generate results.

To download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success, visit www.growsmartbusiness.com.

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View Comments to “Small Business Social Media Adoption Doubles Since 2009”

  1. robate159 says:

    Small business
    4) Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
    What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!
    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  2. robate159 says:

    Small business
    4) Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
    What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!
    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  3. […] of small businesses (SMBs) are starting to use social media to attract new customers.  A recent Small Business Success Index™ report sponsored by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business […]

  4. These are some nice first steps towards funneling folks to your own products and services from various social media properties. The next step is learning how to start using social media within your own web site and how to integrate that with the more popular social media properties. In the end, you don't want folks to just walk past your window, you want them to come in your store. It takes more than purchasing a cool tool to own the community space. It takes understanding how purpose, people, and product can combine ( see http://www.dynamicalsoftware.com/purpose/people... ) to raise brand awareness.

  5. These are some nice first steps towards funneling folks to your own products and services from various social media properties. The next step is learning how to start using social media within your own web site and how to integrate that with the more popular social media properties. In the end, you don't want folks to just walk past your window, you want them to come in your store. It takes more than purchasing a cool tool to own the community space. It takes understanding how purpose, people, and product can combine ( see http://www.dynamicalsoftware.com/purpose/people... ) to raise brand awareness.

  6. stevehardman says:

    In my experience the level of interest in by small business in Social Media has gone crazy in the last 6 months. At SocialGO.com, where we have created over 150,000 social networks in the past 12 month (many for small businesses) we have seen small business move beyond the obligatory and often ineffective Facebook page, to having their own dedicated social networks hosting a community of passionate customers relevant to their business. But making social media work for small business is not easy. You have to think very carefully about why would anyone want to join your network and why would they want to interact with other members. A great example that uses our software is http://www.parentbook.earthlings.co.nz/. Here an organic baby clothes company in New Zealand wre wise enough to realise that few people would join an organic baby clothes social network, why would they. Instead, the owner put the company identity to the side and create a parneting social network where new parents could get advice, interact with each other and share their experiences. All the while, the owner is creating events, groups, talking to members and softly selling her products. Something to think about.

  7. stevehardman says:

    In my experience the level of interest in by small business in Social Media has gone crazy in the last 6 months. At SocialGO.com, where we have created over 150,000 social networks in the past 12 month (many for small businesses) we have seen small business move beyond the obligatory and often ineffective Facebook page, to having their own dedicated social networks hosting a community of passionate customers relevant to their business. But making social media work for small business is not easy. You have to think very carefully about why would anyone want to join your network and why would they want to interact with other members. A great example that uses our software is http://www.parentbook.earthlings.co.nz/. Here an organic baby clothes company in New Zealand wre wise enough to realise that few people would join an organic baby clothes social network, why would they. Instead, the owner put the company identity to the side and create a parneting social network where new parents could get advice, interact with each other and share their experiences. All the while, the owner is creating events, groups, talking to members and softly selling her products. Something to think about.

  8. Dan Latendre says:

    Great article and data. Our company feels the same… that small business has been forgotten. I think that social media tools and sites are a great way to increase market awareness and help with customer retention/loyalty.

    If any small business owners are looking at investments in their online presence… I encourage you to check us out – http://www.igloosoftware.com. We offer free online business communities to small businesses with full functionality – web publishing, blogs, forums, calendar, wiki, social networking and more. It is completely customizable and can easily be branded for your company. Many of our customers use it for their website, intranet, customer portal etc… Don't worry… there are no annoying ads.

    I hope our service can help you small business owners out there!!!

  9. Dan Latendre says:

    Great article and data. Our company feels the same… that small business has been forgotten. I think that social media tools and sites are a great way to increase market awareness and help with customer retention/loyalty.

    If any small business owners are looking at investments in their online presence… I encourage you to check us out – http://www.igloosoftware.com. We offer free online business communities to small businesses with full functionality – web publishing, blogs, forums, calendar, wiki, social networking and more. It is completely customizable and can easily be branded for your company. Many of our customers use it for their website, intranet, customer portal etc… Don't worry… there are no annoying ads.

    I hope our service can help you small business owners out there!!!

  10. Thanks for the article. Many business owners I consult are excited about social media marketing but unfortunately after a while they go back to their old habits. It would be great if they could just dedicate 30 minutes a day to it. The results would get them excited about it. So we put a action plan together to keep them on track despite themselves.

  11. Thanks for the article. Many business owners I consult are excited about social media marketing but unfortunately after a while they go back to their old habits. It would be great if they could just dedicate 30 minutes a day to it. The results would get them excited about it. So we put a action plan together to keep them on track despite themselves.

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