Nine out of ten small businesses now dedicate time to networking online using social media and other channels, and almost three-quarters (74 percent) of these firms find online networking as, if not more valuable than networking in person, reveals a new study.
Manta polled more than 600 small business owners across the U.S. about their use of online and social channels, and discovered that more than half (53 percent) said that networking on and offline was equally valuable, and that 42 percent of small firms said that a quarter of customers gained over the past year had come from online channels.
The data also noted that 42 percent of small business owners have a presence on Facebook, and 19 percent said that their Facebook Page drove the most business for their company, ahead of LinkedIn (13 percent), Google+ (10 percent) and Twitter (5 percent).
35 percent of respondents said that being found by new customers was the number one benefit of online networking.
“Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is,” said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta. “Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business, so it’s not surprising that they are embracing the channel.”