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Social and Mobile Encourage Optimism in Small Businesses

Posted on 6.30.2012

Recently, j2 Global, a provider of cloud-based communications and storage messaging services for businesses, released the results of the j2 Global Small Business Survey, and the results are overwhelmingly optimistic.

According to the report, 76 percent of the small business owners surveyed said they’re optimistic about the growth of their companies through the rest of 2012. Just seven percent said they weren’t optimistic at all. More importantly, however, were insights that the survey provided that detail how these business owners are utilizing mobile and social technology.

Although email and search are still the two primary promotional tools for most online businesses, 39 percent of the respondents said that a quarter of their marketing strategy is now based around social media, and 26 percent said that social was the focus of half (or more) of their marketing efforts.

Facebook was widely considered the most important social platform for business owners at 37 percent (LinkedIn was second, and Google+ came in third); however, the usefulness of each social network varies greatly by industry. Facebook was most popular with restaurants, but LinkedIn was the go-to destination for consultants, and medical professionals love Google+. Most e-commerce businesses utilize Twitter, and tech firms prefer YouTube. Surprisingly, just one percent of the owners said that Pinterest was the most important social network, making it the least valuable of the bunch.

As for mobile, small business owners seem to be embracing the technology in order to keep up with their larger competitors. 38 percent of the respondents said that they currently use at least five mobile apps to run their business, which correlates with a Business Journals study that recognizes iPads as the fastest growing new technology for small and medium-sized businesses.

Popular uses of the Apple tablet include email (the highest reported at 76 percent), Web browsing, document management, product demonstrations and sales, communication (phone and video) and online faxing. Use of these devices is primarily driven by restaurants and other food service industry companies.

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