If you’re a small business and you haven’t figured this out already, let me be the first to inform you: Social Media Rules! According to a survey co-sponsored by the American Express OPEN and Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), US small businesses are making Social Media Marketing a top priority this year.
Clearly the low barrier to entry coupled with the ease and magnitude of communicating with a plethora of potential customers has led many small businesses to to make Social Media their No. 2 online marketing effort, only after their company websites.
As of March 2011, 44% of respondents to the survey used social media for marketing vs. 28% who used SEO and 21% who used paid search. For 2011, 29% of small business respondents who weren’t using social media marketing planned to add it as part of the online marketing arsenal.
As recent as February 2011, a MerchantCircle survey of small businesses found that over 70% used Facebook for marketing, while only about two-thirds used Google and one-third used Bing.
Facebook’s astounding 63% penetration of US internet users has no doubt placed social media on the radar of just about every small business. Further studies have indicated that internet users are becoming less reliant on search engines to find what they’re looking for, as users become more accustomed to finding sites on the web and networks such as Facebook grow in market share.