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Terrific New Social Media Research Study Means It’s Time for Small Business to Get with the Program

digital flow chart research If you’ve been dragging your feet on social media, it’s time to take both of those feet and jump right in. The just released study on business use of social media from the folks at Business.com is must reading for content marketers who are active, tentative or hesitant about social media.

Their research, 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study makes it clear that even small business owners need to take social media very seriously indeed. 

The study was designed to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses. Based on 2,948 valid responses to the online Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey during  August and early September, 2009, the results show  how and where businesses, and business people, are finding value in social media.

The study was focused on social media utilization – how people and companies are using social media in a work context today – and not on adoption. All study participants currently used social media in their day-to-day jobs as a resource for business-relevant information and/or worked for a company currently managing, developing or planning social  media initiatives.

In other words, you can learn painlessly from marketers who are already actively participating in social media.

What you can learn from the research:

  • Top social media resources used for business information
  • Which department – Marketing, Customer Service, Product or other – drives most corporate social media initiatives
  • Top business social media initiatives, and how well companies can actually measure the success of these initiatives
  • Ratings of top social media sites for business use

Some of My Favorite Takeaways:

  • Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are leaders.  MySpace is dragging pretty far behind.
  • Companies are using benchmarks to measure the success of their efforts. Website traffic, product feedback, lead generation, and revenue are the top 4.
  • YouTube is #1 in showing business impact from a company profile. Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t far behind.
  • For listening/research purposes, Google search and alerts dominate with Twitter and Yahoo search coming not too far behind. Microsoft’s Bing has a surprisingly good showing at 21% vs. Yahoo search at 35%
  • There is a measurable ROI to social media activities. Active social media marketers don’t see it as an amorphous money pit. They are showing tangible returns.

2 Pieces of Good News: Social Media is Proliferating Quickly and You Still Have Time to Jump Onboard

We’ve all seen the stats that show the astounding growth of Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is now the 2nd most popular search engine.  Your buyers are using social media extensively. You don’t have to worry about being too early to enter the social media maelstrom.  You won’t be one of those hapless pioneers who are so far ahead they wind up with arrows in their backs. And, you don’t want to wait until all the best social media territory is taken.

Fortunately, you will still be an early—if not first—mover in your marketing neighborhood. Only about 1/3 of respondents in the study have been involved with social media for more than 2 years.

It is certainly high time to join the social media movement.  It will deliver affordable and measurable results. You aren’t late yet. But you soon will be if you hang back and let your marketing—and your business—suffer as a result.

Click here for my 6 Reasons to Embrace Social Media Today.

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More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.

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