Fifty-four percent of small and midsize businesses are using social media to promote their businesses, double the number using these sites in December 2009, with 35% posting daily updates to sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, a new study found.
And, although only 17% of SMBs surveyed used incentives to attract online followers, friends, and fans, 60% credit social media with positively impacting their businesses, according to the poll by Daryl Willcox Publishing. In addition, 46% said their company's brand awareness has increased and 36% have attracted new business as a result of their social media efforts, the British study of 269 SMBs found.
"The number of companies participating in social media on a daily basis shows the growing importance of this marketing channel," said Daryl Willcox, founder of Daryl Willcox Publishing. "The fact that 60% have reported a positive impact on their businesses shows [SMBs] are becoming increasingly receptive to the benefits."
In its December 2009 study, 27% of SMBs surveyed were using social media, the firm said.
LinkedIn is the most popular site, with 73% of small businesses using the professional network, according to the poll. Facebook was the second most-used site, visited by 64% of small businesses, followed by Twitter, used by 63% of respondents, the report said.
The majority of small businesses -- 68% -- use social media for networking, 63% tap these sites to attract new customers, and 61% leverage social media to increase brand awareness, according to the survey. In addition, 14% use social media merely because others are doing so, while 12% only use the sites "for the sake of gathering followers," the study said.
In the study, 35% of those not using social media blamed lack of time, 31% claimed their customers do not use these sites, and 24% said they do not understand the technology.
Social media complements and augments other forms of marketing such as e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, and direct marketing, the study said.
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