Social networks boosts clients
Facebook has overtaken printed directories such as Yellow Pages as small business’s favoured method for finding new customers, new research reveals. More than a third of small businesses now use the social network to market their services.
The research, published by Basekit, a technology company that specialises in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market, also suggests that Twitter too is becoming increasingly important as a source of new business.
In a survey of 500 SME business leaders, 36 per cent of respondents said Facebook was now a key resource for marketing and sales leads, compared to only 26 per cent for local business directories. Print and online advertising are important to 21 and 20 per cent of SMEs respectively, while Twitter is used by 17 per cent of businesses.
Simon Best, the founder of BaseKit, said its research suggested SMEs were attracted to social networking sites by the relatively low cost of using them – and their ability to target potential customers more specifically.
Sites such as Facebook enable advertisers to drill down into very specific demographics and offer different payment models according to the way in which they expect customers to respond. It’s also much easier to measure response rates online.
“Small businesses are shifting their marketing to lower-cost media like Facebook and Twitter and away from legacy media like the directories,” Mr Best said. “They tell us that one-to-one marketing is their most efficient and most successful way of generating new business – the fact that Facebook has become the number one source of new business within just a few years of its creation is remarkable.”