Word-of-mouth marketing services provider RatePoint has released an August 2010 survey of more than 150 small businesses, the vast majority five employees and under, about opinions on topics such as social media and online reviews, and found that many small businesses are unsure about the impact of social networking on reaching customers.
While 36% of small businesses agree their customers spend time on social networking sites, 27% are undecided and 20% disagreed that their customers were spending time on social networks. As a result, small businesses are conflicted about the use of social media for businesses: only 25% agree that “my customers want to hear from me on social networks,” while 36% disagree. And 35% agree that “social media is a quick way to connect with prospective customers”–28% disagree with that statement
But those small businesses who are proactively using social networking to reach customers are seeing bottom-line benefits: of the SMBs who indicated they will be using social media as the main tactic to drive new customers to their business in the next 12 months, 70% said they do so because social media is the least expensive option.