Small Businesses Spend More Time on Social Media

Almost three-quarters of small firms intend to spend more time social networking in 2011 in an attempt to help boost dwindling sales, research from freelancer sourcing site OfficeCavalry has revealed.

The 2011 Freelancers Trends Report, which included a survey of 1,000 small businesses, found that 71% plan to commit more resources to social media this year.

OfficeCavalry founder, Andy Turner, said that small firms are turning increasingly to social networking as the economic climate makes it “more and more difficult to sell”.

“Small firms are becoming more aware of social media as a channel that enables them to make themselves visible to a bigger customer base. Social networking can be an easy and affordable way to bring traffic to your site by engaging with a user group of people. It’s also a good way of testing the water with new products or services and getting feedback for free.”

Marketing consultant Lucy Whittington, founder of Inspired Business Marketing, said that social media is valuable for small businesses in some sectors, but not all.

“It depends who your customers are. If your target market is corporate institutions, they probably don’t spend time on social networks. But if you deal with consumers or other small businesses that use Twitter or Facebook, it’s a brilliant place to be.”

Small-business owner Angela Roberts of online jewellery shop Glam Originals said that her sales had increased since using Twitter.

“But it’s hard to track whether the increase in web visitors and sales is purely due to Twitter. However, if business owners learn to use social media properly they can get a good return.”

The OfficeCavalry survey also found that 15% of small firms are considering creating specific roles such as "social media manager".

Whittington said that employers should assess the potential returns of social media before creating a dedicated role.

“Whether it warrants a full-time role has to be measured by the results you’re getting. Rather than getting a person doing it full-time or doing it yourself, you could consider outsourcing it to a freelancer for a few hours a week.”

If you’re considering using twitter then you might want to read our business advice article Twitter: Does your Small Business Need it?

Small Businesses Spend More Time on Social Media

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