As small businesses continue to navigate the economic recession, their adoption of innovative marketing technologies such as social media has leveled off, while expectations among those who use social media have changed, according to a study by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business. Still, among those that leverage social channels, 57% expect to generate a profit from their social media efforts over the next year.

The recession has taken its toll on small business (companies with fewer than 100 employees): Only 37% of surveyed small business owners say they are successful coming up with new ideas to grow their businesses, compared with 47% who said so six months earlier.

Competing against larger players has also become more challenging: Only 37% of small business owners say they are successful positioning their organizations as having the same capabilities as larger competitors, compared with 43% who said so six months earlier.

Meanwhile, companies are holding back their marketing spending: 20% of small businesses are using online advertising in 2010, down from 25% six months earlier, while 20% are using search engine optimization (SEO), down from 26%.

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