Small Biz Owners Turn to Social Media for Marketing

October 15, 2009 ( - A new online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. small business owners by Internet2Go, an Opus Research advisory service, and MerchantCircle, a social network for small businesses, has uncovered a new, growing segment of small business owners who aggressively use social media to promote their businesses.

According to a press release, the survey, conducted September 8-18, 2009, found that roughly 45% of respondents have a presence or profiles on Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses. This could be because the two biggest complaints about online marketing by survey respondents was that it is “too costly” (26%) and “there’s not enough time to do it well and still run a business” (15.9%).

“We believe the behavior exhibited by these small business owners is a precursor of things to come – that small business owners will increasingly forgo expensive advertising options and embrace publishing their unique content across various social media outlets,” said Darren Waddell vice president and MerchantCircle, in the press release.

However, despite its popularity, social media showed the biggest gap between small business owner adoption and perceived effectiveness as a marketing platform.

Other survey responses included:

  • 79% of respondents report annual marketing budgets of less than $5,000 per year, with 44% spending “less than $1,000” annually on advertising and marketing.
  • 75% said they monitor online reviews of their business, most commonly by visiting specific review Web sites (47%) and by searching on their business name (44%).