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Twitter, LinkedIn making a bigger business impact

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Social media use among small-business owners has taken off in recent years, creating a greater need for cyberliability insurance. Being hacked on networks such as Facebook can be devastating for a company. Findings from a recent survey from online marketing firm Constant Contact revealed more companies are finding Twitter and LinkedIn much more useful than in past years. Nearly three out of 10 respondents said LinkedIn is effective for their firm, an increase of 19 percentage points from a similar study the previous year, while one-quarter said Twitter was giving their business a boost, a jump of 18 percentage points.

"The sharp increase in effectiveness ratings for both LinkedIn and Twitter is significant," said Mark Schmulen, general manager of social media at Constant Contact. "While Facebook remains the dominant platform, small businesses are successfully expanding their engagement to reach audiences across multiple networks. This indicates another positive step in the social media adoption curve for SMBs."

Small-business owners should be more confident in social media marketing
The benefits provided by social media are no joke, and small-business owners need to understand the faster they begin trusting themselves on the sites, the more customers they will be able to bring in. The research showed just 13 percent of small firm owners post on Twitter at least once per day, while only one out of 10 will add to their LinkedIn profile once per week.

"Twitter just celebrated its seventh birthday, but the reality is that social media marketing is a relatively new practice for most small businesses," said Schmulen. "While the majority of small businesses are 'experimenting' with social, those who have found success have learned that social media marketing requires a commitment to engaging their audience on a consistent basis."

Experiment with Facebook hashtags
?Small-business owners who are just learning the ropes of social might be confused by hashtags, words prefixed with a # symbol, on Facebook, instead of Twitter, but a recent article for Small Business Trends said they can be quite useful. Here's how:

  • They make it easier to research certain topics
  • Small-business owners can use them to keep track of their competition
  • It's easy to join a conversation about something relevant to the industry by using the right hashtags

Understanding how to properly use hashtags could change the way small-business owners communicate talk with their clients and leaders of other firms.

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