Nine in ten small business owners with an online presence dedicate time to networking online via social networks, online forums, etc., and 74% say networking online is just as valuable, if not more so, than networking in person, according to a survey from Manta, an online community for small businesses.

Moreover, 78% of surveyed online small business owners say they've gained at least 25% of their new business leads via online and social channels in 2012.

Below, additional findings form Manta's Small Business Survey.

Over one-third (38%) of surveyed business owners devote a quarter (25%) of their business networking time to online channels, and nearly one-half (24%) devote a half (50%) of their time doing so.

Gains from Online Networking

A plurality (42%) of small business owners surveyed have gained about one-quarter (25%) of new business via online and social channels (websites, social networks, online forums, etc.) this year.

New business is a key motivation for online small businesses: 35% of owners say the most valuable benefit of networking online is being found by new customers; 21% cite referrals, and 14% cite the ability to engage with new prospects online.

Fewer than one in ten online small business owners cite gaining business-related information (9%) or establishing thought leadership (7%) as a key benefit from networking online.

Most Effective Channels

More than two in five small business owners (42%) say they have a presence on Facebook and find it valuable, whereas 30% have a presence but don't find in valuable and 23% have no presence at all. 

A plurality of surveyed small business owners (24%) cite their website as the most important driver of new business, 19% cite Facebook, and 12% cite LinkedIn. Pinterest and Groupon are the least cited for driving business.

About the data: Findings are based on a poll of 614 small business owners across the nation who are members of and have claimed their Manta business profile, via an online Silverpop survey, August 16-22, 2012. 

Enter your email address to continue reading

9 in 10 Online Small Businesses Network Online, 8 in 10 Gain New Business

Don't's free!

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.

Did you like this article?
Know someone who would enjoy it too? Share with your friends, free of charge, no sign up required! Simply share this link, and they will get instant access…
  • Copy Link

  • Email

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Pinterest

  • Linkedin