Small firms jumping on social networking bandwagon

A 2010 survey conducted by the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business found that small business owners are embracing social networking to grow their businesses.

According to Mashable,com, the survey of 500 small firms found that one out of every five small businesses is integrating social media into their business processes, a figure is that has doubled compared to the previous year.

The most popular social networking sites for small businesses are LinkedIn and Facebook.

Greg Sterling, of Sterling Market Intelligence, told Bloomberg Business Week that social networking sites should be used primarily for meeting people, asking for advice or referrals and, carefully, doing online marketing. The uses vary by application or site.

"Sites such as LinkedIn can be helpful in connecting with people you want to meet for one reason or another," Sterling told the news source. "Twitter and Facebook can be helpful when you're trying to notify a group of people about something you want to promote or about a happening of some kind."

Entrepreneur magazine's Susan Gunelius adds that when it comes to using social networking, "the worst action is no action, and your biggest problem is being invisible … If no one is talking about you, you have no chance for growth."

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