Is Your SMB Leveraging Social Media Yet?

Paul Mah

Social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent in the past year alone, according to the latest report from the Small Business Success Index (SBSI). Indeed, one in five of the 500 small businesses surveyed in December 2009 say they have tapped into social media in some way or another.


Below is a summary of some other interesting findings from the study:

  • 75 percent have a company page on a social-networking site.
  • 45 percent expect social media to be profitable in the next 12 months.
  • 58 percent of small business owners who use social media feel the medium has so far "met expectations."
  • 61 percent use social media to identify and attract new customers.


What's the Use of Social Media?

How social media can affect the bottom line can be difficult to explain to a newcomer. In fact, many SMBs that went into social media over the past year probably did so more out of desperation than as a deliberate strategy. As Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO and founder of the Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, noted:

In order to meet the growing challenges of a tough market last year, I was forced to consider alternative options to keep my business visible.

Glazier shared how he was ultimately able to generate new business opportunities even as his marketing budget was reduced by more than 80 percent. In essence, his business was coming up on top in searches by people looking for eye doctors in and around his city, and his personal blog made him out to be a thought leader in social networking within his profession.


In a nutshell, investing in social media makes it easier for SMBs to raise their visibility and to compete against businesses that don't. Of course, benefiting from social media requires some creativity to implement well. Businesses can tweet tips on areas of their speciality and give out special discounts available only to Facebook fans.


The Big Boys are Doing That, Too

There was a time when Facebook or Twitter appeared to be nothing more than a passing fad. These days, even the big companies are waking up to the use of social media. For example, well-known security vendors such as Symantec and McAfee have a Twitter presence, while AT&T recently concluded a Lose The Laptop Challenge in which it recruited bloggers to write about the new HTC Pure and HTC Tilt 2 smartphones. (I reviewed the HTC Tilt 2.) In fact, representatives from another well-known company also have contacted me in the past week to put together a contest via social media, with a high-end smartphone being offered as a prize.


What I'm trying to say is that large businesses are quickly recognizing the value of reaching out directly to the masses through social media. Hence, it is even more imperative for SMBs, which stand to benefit from more efficient use of their scarce marketing resources, to hop onto the bandwagon early.


The report noted that, "Social media investments rank third in small business investments to be made in the next two years." Personally, I believe that. Is your SMB ready to engage in social media today?

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 17, 2010 9:22 AM Claudia Guzman Claudia Guzman  says:

Indeed, it is interesting to know that social media has continued to progressed to help with business. It is one of the most accessible, practical, and known tool for business. I truly appreciate this article.

Feb 17, 2010 9:36 AM Tammy McDaniel Tammy McDaniel  says:

Hi and thanks for the post.  Social Media as a form of marketing one's small business must become a critical component for the SMB.  As the SMB steps into the social media landscape however, they must realize that their reputation is quantifiable, findable and totally unavoidable.  More than ever the SMB's digital footprint is fragmented and growing and oftentimes without their knowledge.  Consumer reviews can (and are) dramatically affecting their reputation.  Small businesses tend to be time poor and lack marketing expertise, but they must learn how to be discovered to survive, they pay a lot to be discovered, and they must learn to be discovered online.  What better way than to control their online presence and become social at the same time?

Feb 17, 2010 12:52 PM josee josee  says:

brilliant article, i posted it on my FB, thank you!

Feb 17, 2010 2:19 PM Uri, Optify Uri, Optify  says:

Hi Paul,

Interesting article on a very hyped topic. Social media is all the jazz these days, with posts from all the experts and research reports coming out every day emphasizing how social media is going to be the next big thing.

But social media is not just about tweeting and writing on your facebook wall, in order to succeed you need a strategy, and you also need the tools.

Without an integration of social media with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and without the tools to do that, investing time in social media is like building a car with no engine, it will look nice in your garage, but it won't get you anywhere.

Optify (http://www.optify.net) offers these tools, and for SMB, although not our target customers, we offer a free product that can get you on your way. Check us out today and start driving your efforts - http://www.optify.net/b2b-marketing/keyword-marketing/

Thanks again for this post, we need more people to spread the social media word.


Feb 17, 2010 6:49 PM Collin Harbour Collin Harbour  says:

Thanks for the article.  The statistics are trending up and I'm sure will continue to do so. As a small business owner, social media has enhanced our visibility as well as enhanced my knowledge of our industry as well as turned me on to a new industry (Social Media).  I  have increased our Social Media efforts and we are already seeing some results.  It seems to work pretty well for me.


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