Facebook - top source of new customers for small businesses
OVER one third of UK small businesses say that they now use Facebook to drum up new customers – more than local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson and substantially more than print or online advertising.
Research by technology company BaseKit has found that 36 per cent of small businesses in Britain use the social network for marketing purposes, whereas just a quarter say they rely on local directories (27 per cent) as a source of new customers.
Twitter has also become popular with small businesses and their owners – over one-in-six (17 per cent) use the site to scout for new customers and to market their services and the micro-blogging site is fast catching up with those who say they use print (21 per cent) or online (20 per cent) advertising for their marketing.
Simon Best, co-founder of BaseKit said: “Small businesses are shifting their marketing to lower-cost media like Facebook and Twitter and away from legacy media like the directories. They tell us that one-to-one marketing is their most efficient and most successful way of generating new business – the fact that Facebook has become the number one source of new business within just a few years of its creation is remarkable.”
The BaseKit “Small Business Report” also found that, while vast numbers of the UK’s 1.1 million small businesses are online and are using sites such as Facebook successfully, there are still 660,000 that have yet to get themselves online at all. This is despite the fact that three quarters (74 per cent) of those that do have a site say it has become critical to drumming-up new leads and to their reputation as a company.
Rachel Bridge, business expert and best-selling author of four books including “How to make a million before lunch” comments: “It’s staggering that although businesses are embracing social media as a tool for marketing, so few are integrating tools such as blogs, video or twitter feeds into their websites. A number of small businesses admit their sites are seriously lagging behind in the technology stakes with only one in four able to accept online payments.”
Simon Best added: “We found that while a lot of small businesses are forward-thinking when it comes to the web, there are a lot of others that have yet to get on board. We felt that, given so many are finding success with social networks, we should create some resources for other businesses to use to get themselves Facebook-literate when it comes to marketing their services.
“The simple truth is that, for a small business with customers who may be under 40, if you’re not on the web then you are more-or-less invisible. We believe that every small business in the UK should be able to take advantage of the power of the internet as a tool to grow – and should be able to create a professional website cost-effectively.”
Leave your comments: