If you’re still wrestling with whether or not you should dive head first—or at least dangle a toe—into the waters of social media, you are not alone. But a recent study shows that an increasing number of small businesses are finally seeing the benefits of using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. What I love about this survey, done by Internet2Go, an Opus Research advisory service, and MerchantCircle, is that in addition to the participants truly being part of the small business community (80 percent had four or fewer employees, and 79 percent said they had less than $5,000 to spend on marketing a year), a whopping 75 percent said they monitor their business presence online. That means small business owners and managers are applying search engine results and social networking sites to their ROI, watching and “listening” to what others are saying about them. Social networking provides an inexpensive outlet to connect with others who have the same goals, problems, and issues as we do. This low-cost marketing tool can produce a high return when used correctly. The key is having an engaging blog or website for potential customers in order to convert them from just simply being “aware” of your products and services on social network sites to actually converting them into a valued customer. Social networking is here to stay for awhile and can produce great results. Just make sure to use it as part of your whole marketing strategy and not the only piece of the puzzle.
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