Small Businesses Are Trying and Liking New Communications Strategies

By John C. Drachman

Even in an uncertain recovery, many smaller businesses are committed to expanding their presence, yet have little appetite for going back to business as usual.

The pattern that characterized the emergence from similar market environments in the past is just  not being repeated — and contributing to low levels of hiring.

The cycle of downsizing and staffing up has been altered as executives look to more efficient ways to motivate purchasing behavior through new combinations of technology and communications.

Small is still beautiful

With an open mind, a sense of experimentation, and a relatively small budget when compared to traditional marketing, smaller firms are finding themselves rewarded by fresh attention to their ideas and products through social media initiatives.

Small businesses embrace communications technology

For managers between $25 million and $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), social media marketing and networking offers the prospect of heightened media bandwidth for a lower cost than more traditional advertising programs.

The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business looked at the relationship between social media and small businesses and found that the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.

The data, undertaken by the University, is based on a December 2009 telephone survey of 500 small business owners. Adoption rate calculations are compared against a baseline report conducted in December 2008.

The study concludes that nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes — Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

Deploy more with less

If you have a small financial services firm, perhaps you have made decisions about adjusting your staffing and business model to the challenges of the current environment. Social media programs provide a way to deploy more resources and effort toward your distribution and marketing efforts without heavy additional costs


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