Online Networking Grows Among Small Businesses
While small businesses are using social networking and the Web to boost their companies, they struggle to find the most effective strategy.As accessing the Internet becomes ever more ingrained into the daily habits of Americans, small business owners are taking to the Web to capture new customers, expand their businesses and network, according to a survey sponsored by Manta, a Web-based small business promotions and listing site. The vast majority (90 percent) of respondents said they dedicate time to networking online and 74 percent find networking online just as, if not more, valuable than networking in person. The Manta survey, which tracked small business perspective about their use of online and social channels, polled 614 small business owners across the nation, who are also members of Manta, via an online Silverpop survey in August. According to the results, nearly half of small business owners surveyed say the most valuable benefit of networking online is gaining and targeting prospective customers. Moreover, 78 percent say they gained at least a quarter of their new customers through online or social media channels this year.
"Over time, I've realized that it's very important for me to maintain a consistent presence for both my business and myself online. More and more consumers, who are my prospective customers, are looking online for information about companies who offer remodeling services and architectural plans," Joseph Buczek, president of Indiana and Missouri-based Lighthouse Construction and Restoration, said in a press statement. "My presence on Manta allows me to expand awareness of both my company and myself as a small business owner online."