Customer Experience News & Trends

Show me the leads! Small biz says social media won’t deliver

When it comes to generating valuable business leads, small business execs have not drunk the social networking Kool-Aid. Very few say it’s

generated leads, with most relying instead on their Web sites to generate traffic.

A Citibank survey of 500 small business execs found:

  • 76%  have not found social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, and
  • 86%  say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.

And if you are targeting these folks as prospects, check your search results. Because 61% of business execs preferred to use general search engines like Yahoo and Google to seek advice, instead of turning to niche sites or news sites like

“Our survey suggests that small business owners are still feeling their way into social media, particularly when it comes to using these tools to grow their businesses,” said Maria Veltre, Executive Vice President of Citi’s Small Business Segment, which conducted the survey.

“While social media can provide additional channels to network and help grow a business, many small businesses may not have the manpower or the time required take advantage of them.”

In a small business where execs may wear many hats, and juggle even more responsibilities, there may not be time to optimize a site to attract online prospects and build profiles on social media. No doubt about it, both take time and effort.

Faced with this choice, small business owners and managers said they were doing more with their company’s website to generate business leads and sales.

Among companies with 20 to 99 employees, 57% were making greater use of their Web site for lead generation.

Not sure why everyone’s talking about social media? For a good social media definition and introduction, check out Brian Solis’ slideshow, The Essential Guide to Social Media.

Julie Power is editor in chief of the Internet Marketing Report. You can follow her on Twitter at JuliePower

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