Uncertain at first, and still somewhat reluctant overall, small businesses are increasingly implementing social media into their marketing strategies.
A recent survey conducted by Constant Contact revealed that 63 percent of nearly 1,500 small business owners cited Facebook as an important element of their activities during the fall, while more than 30 percent said the same about Twitter. Those numbers were up from 50.5 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively, when the survey was last conducted in March 2010.
The Fall 2010 survey also showed modest increases in more traditional small business marketing strategies such as email marketing, event marketing and online surveys, while direct mail, telephone conversations and in-person interactions all saw modest declines.
In fact, 62 percent of the respondents stated that a Facebook presence is now as important to their small businesses as face-to-face interactions with consumers.
While 2010 was a difficult year for small businesses, most respondents have high hopes for 2011. More than 50 percent of those surveyed have reduced their operating expenses in 2010: 39.7 percent have reduced their travel and entertainment budgets, and 39.4 percent have reduced their marketing expenditures. Nearly 75 percent expect their businesses to grow in the next year.