Are SMBs Stymied by Social Nets?

A just-released telephone survey of 500 US small business “executives” conducted on behalf of Citibank argues:

  • 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
  • 86 percent say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information
  • 61 percent of respondents say they rely on search engines for business advice or information
  • 28 percent use email marketing and 25 percent use online advertising to generate business leads and sales

So this poll might cause you to belive that no one is using social networks and social media in the SMB segment and that it’s unlikely to change any time soon. As I’ve tried to argue before, there is no “representative” sample of SMBs. The closest you can get is a population that shares general characteristics with the larger market: under X number of employees, revenues between X and Y and so on.

The proper way to view something like this is as a snapshot of a part of the market at a point in time. And it’s also incorrect in terms of its implications. While small businesses do question the efficacy of social media they are using it in increasing numbers (stay tuned).

Related: Hitwise data on US social net growth:

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6 Responses to “Are SMBs Stymied by Social Nets?”

  1. Are SMBs Stymied by Social Nets? « Easy Business News Says:

    […] 61 percent of respondents say they rely on search enginesSource: Screenwerk RSS Feed […]

  2. Witness the Emergence of ‘Engaged’ SMBs « Screenwerk Says:

    […] this week a Citibank survey found that SMBs were generally not relying on social media as a marketing platform. That had 500 […]

  3. Watch out Google and Adobe: Small business is warming to social media Says:

    […] finding a designer he liked at a price he was willing to pay, so he launched a generic WordPress blog instead. Now that blog has become a key part of his online presence, and Sterling has no interest in […]

  4. Watch out Google and Adobe: Small business is warming to social media « Interesting finds Says:

    […] finding a designer he liked at a price he was willing to pay, so he launched a generic WordPress blog instead. Now that blog has become a key part of his online presence, and Sterling has no interest in […]

  5. Social Media and SMBs: Conflicting Data « Screenwerk Says:

    […] what the Citibank (n=500) telephone SMB survey said: 86 percent say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information. […]

  6. SMBs Marketing Online: Yes or No? Says:

    […] methodologies and respondent pools, Sterling said that the two separate findings illustrate why it remains difficult to quantify how and what SMBs do online. However, he added that there is plenty of anecdotal […]

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