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: