The data shows nearly all small businesses (90 percent) dedicate time to networking online and an additional 74 percent believe online networking is more effective than networking in person. This data shows the importance of online channels to all businesses, but small businesses seem to use online channels to dramatically grow their companies: 50 percent of those surveyed believe the most valuable benefit of networking online is determining and gaining prospects. Further, 78 percent of small businesses say they gained at least a quarter of their new customers through online or social media channels this year.
Despite the success small businesses are experiencing through social, the myriad online and social channels available to marketers can be overwhelming. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed say they struggle to find value in using Facebook to promote their brand name or just simply don’t have a page at all. The online channel that seems to have the largest influence on business results is the company website, as noted by 25 percent of respondents.
“Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is. Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business, so it’s not surprising that they are embracing the channel,” according to Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta.
Small businesses are realizing the importance of establishing an online presence through a variety of channels, including social media. Some are struggling to juggle all the channels at once, but when campaigns are executed effectively, small businesses are seeing high success with networking and customer acquisition.