Small Businesses Get Social: eMarketer

Strength in numbers.

JUNE 4, 2009 – It is not just big businesses that are communicating with customers using social media.

According to a study by Sage Software and AMI-Partners, more than 260,000 small businesses in the US and Canada employ social networking tactics, too.

Most of them used professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. General social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook were also widely used, followed by niche communities and job sites.

Less popular were microblogging services (such as Twitter and Yammer), forums, wikis and social bookmarking applications.

The reasons for adopting social networking tactics varied, but the most widespread uses of social media were for responding to customer questions, networking, and reference and educational purposes.

While few used the sites to influence purchases, this may be a strategic error. Direct sales are one way to leverage social media marketing.

An exclusive-to-Twitter promotion brought in 15% of the day’s business, Jeff Leach of Naked Pizza told Advertising Age. “Sure, there�s the brand marketing and getting-to-know-you stuff�but we wanted to know: Can it make the cash register ring?”

Ad Age offered five tips for marketing on social media platforms:

  • Track sales made on social media.
  • Don�t use Twitter as Facebook (and vice versa).
  • Create a conversation with friends and followers.
  • Sell last-minute inventory.
  • Alert followers to changes.

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