Small businesses not jumping on social media bandwagon

Few small business owners and managers are joining the consumer trend toward increasing use of social networking sites and services, according to a new Citibank/GfK Roper survey.

The survey revealed that 76 percent of small businesses have not benefited from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn when it comes to generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, while 86 percent say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information. In addition, the survey found that traditional search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo! overshadow small business-focused sites. Sixty-one percent of respondents say they rely on these search engine sites.

“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. “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.”

Instead of social media sites, 42 percent of small business owners and managers said that in the past year they have made greater use of their company’s Web site to bring in business leads and sales. This percentage rises among companies with 20 to 29 employees, with 57 percent saying they have used their Web site. In addition to using their Web site, the survey revealed that small businesses are also using email marketing (28 percent) and online advertising (25 percent) to generate business leads and sales.

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