Report Shows Small Business Owners Use Social Media for Awareness

The next wave of the 2010 Small Business Success Index (SBSI) report has been published. The report is sponsored by the online research firm, Network Solutions, and the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. According to the most recent report, small business owners are still using social media, but their views of what social media can do for them have changed.

One of the biggest changes in social media is the expectation of what it will do or accomplish for the small business. Previously, the SBSI report from the end of 2009 showed that more small business owners expected that social media would generate leads than would create and build awareness of their business. However, the mid-2010 report taken from a poll conducted in June of 2010 showed that this is now reversed. 77 percent of small business owners now believe social media is better suited to build awareness while 71 percent believe it can be used to generate leads.

As far as meeting those expectations, most small business owners, 58 percent, believe that social media does meet the expectations they set for their business. One expectation that is becoming more popular among small business owners is that 62 percent believe social media is likely to help keep them in touch with their customers. This is up from only 45 percent in December of 2009.

How many small business owners utilize social media? Still, this number is small. Only 20 percent of the 500 business owners surveyed said they use social media as part of their small business marketing, or some way for their business. Most small business owners who use social media, 82 percent, say they have a Facebook page for their business. 38 percent have a LinkedIn page, while only 30 percent say they have a Twitter account for their small business. And of those who utilize Facebook or Twitter, 65 percent post regular status updates or tweets.

The SBSI report is a good gauge to view the outlook other small business owners have on important small business topics. How do you fit in with the social media expectations? Do you use social media mainly to acquire leads, or to create and develop awareness?

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