Sunday, February 14, 2010

You can't afford to Not use Social Media

It’s all about having a captive audience - Published: Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010 

Consider this: Half of Facebook’s 400 million users log on daily, and the average user spends more than 55 minutes surfing the site each day. Twitter has around 75 million registered users. Millions more log onto YouTube daily. Then there’s MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr and more.

Essentially, supporters say, social media lets you take your message to people instead of waiting for them to come to you. Many large companies maintain Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts with thousands of fans and followers.

But the number of small businesses using social media is, well, small. Some estimates say just 1 percent maintain a presence. A Citibank Small Business survey last year found that 75 percent of small businesses haven’t found social media to be effective during the past year. Some suggested that was because small companies have been too preoccupied with day-to-day operations during a recession and haven’t made social media a priority.

But many observers still see tremendous potential.

“Social media presents the opportunity to communicate with an audience on a regular basis in the places that they are in,” Broadwater said. “The Web, and social media especially, has this uncanny capability to pull people together around an idea or a topic so they can have a two-way, interactive conversation.”