Nearly 90% of small businesses are spending time networking online, according to a new study by small business forum Manta. Out of 600 small business owners nationwide, 74% believe social networking platforms are as important as in-person networking – if not more so.
According to Manta Chief Executive Pamela Springer, “Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is.” Nearly half of small businesses owner surveyed said the most valuable benefit of networking online “is gaining and targeting prospective customers.”
Do social networking sites really lead to new business? An impressive 78% of small businesses reported that at least one-quarter of their new customers came from online or social media channels this year. But many of these leads may come from company websites, which still drive the most business for 24% of small businesses.
Here’s a look at the online and social channels driving traffic to small businesses:
- company website -24%
- Facebook – 19%
- LinkedIn – 12%
- Google+ – 10%
- Twitter – 5%
- Pinterest – 1%
And once small businesses are on social networks, the benefits are not always clear. While 42% of small businesses have a Facebook presence and find it valuable, another 30% “don’t find it valuable.” Nearly one-quarter (23%) of small businesses still don’t have a Facebook presence, and 5% stopped using Facebook because they “saw no value” in doing so.
Manta surveyed 614 small business owners across the nation via an online survey between August 16 and August 22, 2012.
See the full Manta infographic here: