Few small business owners and managers are joining the consumer trend towards increasingly using social networking websites and services, according to a new Citibank / GfK Roper survey.
According to the survey of 500 small business executives across the United States, 76 percent have not found social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, while 86 percent say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.
The survey found that general search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo! trump small business-focused sites and the WSJ.com as destinations for small business owners to seek business advice or information. 61 percent of respondents say they rely on these search engine sites.
“Our survey suggests that small business owners are still feeling their way into social media, particularly when it comes to using these tools to grow their businesses,” said Maria Veltre, Executive Vice President of Citi’s Small Business Segment. “While social media can provide additional channels to network and help grow a business, many small businesses may not have the manpower or the time required take advantage of them.”
Forty-two percent of small business owners and managers reported that in the past year they have made greater use of their company’s website to generate business leads and sales. Among companies with 20 to 99 employees the percentage rises with 57 percent saying they have made greater use of their website. Survey respondents are also using email marketing (28 percent) and online advertising (25 percent) to generate business leads and sales.
The omnibus poll was conducted for Citibank Small Business via telephone by GFK Roper during the period August 20-27, 2009 and surveyed a sample of 500 small business executives across the United States. The margin of error is approximately +/- 3.5 percent.