Social Media and Your Business

by iharwick on April 1, 2011

The following excerpt references the growing place that social media has in business today. It also discusses how over a third of business owners feel that their social media has not had the impact that they originally expected.

This increased use of social media is important, because it changes the ways that we all do business. In my opinion businesses fail to do is two-fold: one, fully understand how social media works (or bring in someone to help) and two, integrate social media into their brand, business and their marketing.

The following points are important to understand in terms of your business:

- Reputations are created and ruined in minutes with a strong or focused following. Sites that have helped/harmed include: yelp, twitter, facebook and any other number of social media sites.

- Location based software allows people to find your business, connect with their friends at your location and help other interested people learn more about you.

From June 2009 to June 2010, social media adoption lulled, remaining stagnant at 24 percent. However, the second half of 2010 marked a growth period, with nearly one-third of small businesses utilizing social media.

The Small Business Success Index revealed the following statistics on social media usage:
- 27 percent use Facebook®
- 18 percent use LinkedIn®
- 8 percent use location-based services (Facebook Places, Foursquare™, Gowalla®, etc.)
- 8 percent use blogs
- 7 percent use Twitter®

On the other hand, with this increase of use, more small businesses have found that social media is not meeting their expectations. Thirty-six percent feel that so far, their use of the medium has fallen short of expectations, while only 9 percent feel it has exceeded expectations. Even so, small businesses are still finding value. In the past 12 months, owners have made key accomplishments with social media, including: staying engaged with customers (63 percent), developing a higher awareness of the business in the market (61 percent), and identifying and attracting new customers (59 percent).

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