Social Media Use Doubles for Small Businesses

This month, survey results announced that the number of small businesses using social media have doubled since 2008. This news was published on the Small Business Success Index co-sponsored by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. School of Business. The researchers asked 500 business owners during December of 2009 about their social media use, and the results were interesting.

Small businesses saw substantial growth in the frequency and use of social media as a way to reach customers. From December 2008 to the end of 2009, the number of small business owners using social media doubled from 12% to 24%. That’s a lot of business owners actively participating in social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and company blogs.

How Small Businesses Socialize

Of the small businesses who actively participate in social media, 75% said they have a company page on a social network site. 69% said they actively update their company status and post articles or other links of interest on social media sites. And 57% said they are continually building a network through sites like LinkedIn.

Though Twitter usage is relatively small, with only 26%, it is still a growing trend, and businesses are continually exploring the uses of the site. Most of those who use Twitter say they post Tweets about areas of expertise, and 16% say they use Twitter as a service channel for customers.

Uses of Social Media

61% of business owners say that social media is used to attract new customers, while 46% use it to stay connected with current customers. 52% say they use social media to develop awareness of their business.

The Bottom Line and Social Media

Does using social media ultimately affect the bottom line? Most business owners think so. 70% of business owners who use social media say it meets or exceeds expectations, while only 26% say it falls short of expectations. 53% said social media has paid for itself, while 22% believe they have shown a profit from social media use.

And though most small businesses are not profitable through social media, 45% said they expect social media to be profitable in 2010. Are you going to be one of the profitable ones?