American Express recently conducted a survey titled “OPEN Small Business Monitor survey” to assess the role of social media amongst the small business fraternity. And being a social media loyalist, I have to say that the results of this survey indicate a bright future for social media adoption amongst the business world.
Small Business Monitor Survey Results
To be honest, I’m not at all surprised with the results of this survey. I’ve been advocating the adoption of social media amongst the small business and SME segment for a long time.
One-third Small Businesses Now Use Social Media
The OPEN Small Business Monitor Survey results indicate that small businesses are increasingly relying on social media, with 4 in 10 business owners using social platforms. One year back, only 1 out of 10 business owners was practicing social media. As expected, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular social media tools amongst the small business fraternity.
Free is good
The survey highlights that low investment cost (often free) is one of the major reasons for widespread adoption of social media in the small business world. Social media tools are low-cost alternatives to conventional marketing and customer service tools as a way to engage customers.
Further, social media is finally being viewed as a feasible alternative for streamlining business operations and reducing costs, thereby making it a lucrative proposition for small business owners.
Social Media Presence on Business Cards
It’s also encouraging to note that social media is now more of a norm rather than an exception for business cards as businesses seeks to promote their social-media presence. Nearly four percent of small businesses include their social media presence on their business cards as it helps drive traffic and increase sales.
Social Media is a two-way street
Unlike conventional marketing and customer service tools, social media’s USP is that it’s a two-way street. It is a fantastic media for business owners to connect with customers and customers connecting with businesses.
It’s not all smooth sailing though
On the other side, it’s not all smooth sailing for small businesses when it comes to joining the social media bandwagon. Many small-business owners are wary and apprehensive to take the plunge due to concerns over security and privacy. Others are simply concerned over the amount of time and effort required in using social media for business promotions. However, the good part is that most small business owners are learning either from their competitions or their peers and taking educated decisions when it comes to social media.
Further, a number of small business owners continue to be concerned over the current state of economy. They remain cautious on hiring and technological spending as so many of them are not planning to hire social media experts/ consultants at least in the near future.
The United States President Barack Obama recently signed a legislation which will provide $30 billion in funding to community banks in order to allow them to lend out money to small businesses. This is a welcome move for the small business fraternity as it gives them financial support to adopt social media and I hope other governments adopt a similar business-friendly approach for the SME segment.
Are you a small business using social media? If so, how has it helped you expand your business footprint? Would you recommend it to other small-business owners? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.