Terrific New Social Media Research Study Means It’s Time for Small Business to Get with the Program

digital flow chart research If you’ve been dragging your feet on social media, it’s time to take both of those feet and jump right in. The just released study on business use of social media from the folks at Business.com is must reading for content marketers who are active, tentative or hesitant about social media.

Their research, 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study makes it clear that even small business owners need to take social media very seriously indeed. 

The study was designed to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses. Based on 2,948 valid responses to the online Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey during  August and early September, 2009, the results show  how and where businesses, and business people, are finding value in social media.

The study was focused on social media utilization – how people and companies are using social media in a work context today – and not on adoption. All study participants currently used social media in their day-to-day jobs as a resource for business-relevant information and/or worked for a company currently managing, developing or planning social  media initiatives.

In other words, you can learn painlessly from marketers who are already actively participating in social media.

What you can learn from the research:

  • Top social media resources used for business information
  • Which department – Marketing, Customer Service, Product or other – drives most corporate social media initiatives
  • Top business social media initiatives, and how well companies can actually measure the success of these initiatives
  • Ratings of top social media sites for business use

Some of My Favorite Takeaways:

  • Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are leaders.  MySpace is dragging pretty far behind.
  • Companies are using benchmarks to measure the success of their efforts. Website traffic, product feedback, lead generation, and revenue are the top 4.
  • YouTube is #1 in showing business impact from a company profile. Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t far behind.
  • For listening/research purposes, Google search and alerts dominate with Twitter and Yahoo search coming not too far behind. Microsoft’s Bing has a surprisingly good showing at 21% vs. Yahoo search at 35%
  • There is a measurable ROI to social media activities. Active social media marketers don’t see it as an amorphous money pit. They are showing tangible returns.

2 Pieces of Good News: Social Media is Proliferating Quickly and You Still Have Time to Jump Onboard

We’ve all seen the stats that show the astounding growth of Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is now the 2nd most popular search engine.  Your buyers are using social media extensively. You don’t have to worry about being too early to enter the social media maelstrom.  You won’t be one of those hapless pioneers who are so far ahead they wind up with arrows in their backs. And, you don’t want to wait until all the best social media territory is taken.

Fortunately, you will still be an early—if not first—mover in your marketing neighborhood. Only about 1/3 of respondents in the study have been involved with social media for more than 2 years.

It is certainly high time to join the social media movement.  It will deliver affordable and measurable results. You aren’t late yet. But you soon will be if you hang back and let your marketing—and your business—suffer as a result.

Click here for my 6 Reasons to Embrace Social Media Today.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 23, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for mentioning the study, Newt. We recently released several additional reports covering certain topics in much more detail. These are:

    “2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study” – focused specifically on results relevant to B2B companies. Available at http://www.business.com/info/b2b-social-media-benchmark-study.

    “Engaging Small Business Decision Makers Through Social Media” – for those marketing to small businesses, this report covers the social media resources small business leaders turn to for business-relevant information in more detail. Available at http://www.business.com/info/engaging-small-business-through-social-media.

    “Social Media Best Practices: Question & Answer Forums” – for companies participating (or planning to participate) on Yahoo! Answers, LinkedIn Answers, Business.com Answers or other online Q&A forum, this report combines insights from over 1,100 online Q&A users with the experience of over 800 companies currently participating in online Q&A to provide the best practice advice necessary to get the most out of this emerging social media channel.


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