09/07/2011 01:43 pm ET | Updated Nov 06, 2011

It's Official: We're Addicted To Social Media

Are you hooked on Facebook? You're not the only one. With Americans constantly socializing online, it's no wonder we're also going there for business reviews before spending any money with a company. But for companies seeking IT and software, there's a dearth of resources for finding online info. Here's more from this week's surveys.

Hooked on Social Media

I've been accused on more than one occasion of being hooked on Twitter, and I know I'm not alone. In a new survey from Internet security provider Webroot, 54 percent of respondents confess they feel some level of "addiction" to their social network of choice. Nearly half (46 percent) admit they visit their favorite social network several times a day or "constantly."

Not surprisingly, Millennials (defined in the study as age 18 to 34) are the biggest addicts, with 75 percent of them copping to the habit, compared to only 44 percent of older generations. Well, at least I think (and act) young.

Relying on Reviews

Reviews are becoming more and more crucial for small-business marketing. According to a new survey by RatePoint, 76 percent of consumers read online reviews before doing business with a company they've never used before. If you own a service business that makes "house calls," the stakes are even higher: Eighty-one percent of consumers say they look for an online review before hiring a business.

In fact, RatePoint also found consumers now rely on online reviews (68 percent) nearly as much as recommendations from friends (77 percent) before trying a new business. As an avid shopper who also loves to get (and share) advice, that sounds about right to me.

You'd Better Shop Around

Shopping for new software and/or IT service providers is a headache for small businesses, according to a new survey by Comparz. The user review site found that about 73 percent of SMBs shop for a new software or service provider either monthly or several times a year.

But these shoppers are not happy. Indeed they find the current methods of selecting business services are sorely lacking. Just 20 percent say interviewing vendors was helpful, 19 percent find blogs helpful and 17 percent are satisfied with search engines results. In contrast, 62 percent say "asking a friend or colleague for advice" is helpful.

With so much difficulty getting reliable advice, it's no wonder the purchase process can be a substantial drain on a small business' resources. The majority of respondents (62 percent) claim they spend from one to four weeks or more making a decision.