More small businesses test social media marketing

Research by indicates a recent increase in social media marketing by small businesses:

  • one in five of the 500 US small business owners questioned confirmed they use social media for marketing
  • 69% post status updates, news and links on social networks
  • 61% claim they use social media to find and attract new prospects and customers
  • 57% have built a network of new prospects via social media websites
  • 39% run an industry-specific blog
  • 50% of small businesses who use social media for marketing say it takes up much more time than they’d expected it to
  • 17% feel that social networks are negative, just encouraging consumers to criticise their business
  • 6% said using social media has done their business more harm than good
  • 45% expect social media to break even or turn a profit in the next year
  • overall social media marketing is the third biggest investment small businesses are planning to make over the next two years

There’s still no sign of social media marketing giving birth to new revenue streams. So far it seems to be working very much like offline ‘above the line’ advertising, slowly building brands and reputations rather than driving direct sales. It’ll be interesting to find out exactly how businesses will make social media marketing profitable in the next twelve months.