If you haven't heard about using social media to promote small businesses you certainly haven't been reading Mine Your Own Business much recently, at the bottom of this posting we'll even include a link to all of them. The question is whether it is an effective way to promote your business. An article in The Wall Street Journal gives a mixed review based on some surveys and actual company experiences.
First the bad. A survey of 2000 U.S. entrepreneurs of businesses with fewer than 100 employees found out that the percentage of businesses using social media had increased from 12% to 24%. The problem is that a different survey of 500 small business owners from the same sponsors reported that 22% made a profit by promoting their businesses with social media, 53% broke even, and 19% said they lost money. The final issue is that it takes away time that could be used in other areas to effectively use social media.
Now the good. The article provides some specific examples of entrepreneurs who can show they increased online sales after promoting with social media. Maybe more importantly, especially for brick and mortar only businesses, is that social media can send a lot of Web traffic to your site. It also allows businesses to communicate directly with interested consumers. So have you had any positive or negative experiences with using social media to promote your business?
Last but not least, here is the promised link to all the Mine Your Own Business postings relating to social media, and two links to postings focusing on social media: So What's all the Twitter about? and Social Media and Small Business.