Huffpost Small Business

Survey Says: Small Businesses Will Use More Social Media In 2012

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Forty percent more small and midsize business owners intend to use social media next year. | AP

Small businesses are finally getting comfortable using social media for marketing purposes, according to SMB Business Perspectives, a new survey conducted by online survey company Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls in conjunction with my company, GrowBiz Media.

The survey polled small and midsize business owners about their biggest challenges for 2011 and their plans for 2012. Not so coincidentally, the challenges they overwhelmingly say they faced this year -- attracting new customers and clients (cited by 44 percent) and retaining existing ones (cited by 32 percent) -- are the same ones they plan to work on in 2012. Sixty percent say attracting more customers will be their primary focus, and 38 percent plan to focus on customer retention.

So far, only 33 percent of those surveyed are using social media, but 40 percent say they intend to use it next year. There is a sizable percentage of entrepreneurs (25 percent) who don’t feel comfortable using social media.

Why it matters to your business: If you're not already using social media, I hope this convinces you that you'd better get social or be left behind. Interestingly, when asked what their main sources of new customers would be in 2012, 25 percent of the entrepreneurs cited word-of-mouth, and 25 percent said repeat business. Social media can help you with both of those goals -- so get cracking!