Does Social Media Work for Small Biz? eMarketer

Search engines better for business research

OCTOBER 27, 2009 – Small businesses are not hitting it off with social media, according to an August 2009 study from Citibank.

More than three-quarters of US small-business executives surveyed did not find social networks helpful for generating leads or expanding their business.

“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, executive vice president of Citi’s Small Business Segment, in a statement. “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.”

Even more respondents said they had not used sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get business advice or info. The executives preferred to use search engines such as Google and Yahoo! for that purpose.

According to an online survey by Internet2Go and MerchantCircle, 45% of small-business owners use Facebook to promote their business, and 46% have a Twitter account. In total, 53% had created a social network profile.

But, like in the Citibank survey, respondents saw a gap between their social media usage and its effectiveness. Just 22% of Internet2Go respondents thought having a profile was an effective marketing tactic.

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