Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a numbers person.  Despite the fluffy marketing exterior, I am at my core, an ROI add up the numbers kind of person.   I love graphs and charts which turn numbers into pictures. And I believe if you “listen” numbers will tell you stories.

So what stories are the numbers telling us about how small business owners are using social media? A study by  Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business found many of the same trends we saw in our own study last spring.  Small business owners are expanding their online presence, with plans to continue to grow that presence this year.

More than 56% of small business owners have websites.  That is up 10% from a year ago, and another 10% expect to develop their websites this year. Surprisingly, the number of companies using online advertising and directories actually dropped in 2010.  My guess is this has more to do with economic pressures to contain cost than a move away from the medium because of projections for 2011 jump significantly.

While still lagging behind other internet mediums, social media is experiencing explosive growth, with use of both Facebook and LinkedIn almost doubling in just one year.  Location-based services are gaining traction as well.

In contrast, Twitter seems to be growing much slower than other media counterparts.  We saw the same thing in our local study.  While we had plenty of response to our Facebook study, we could not collect enough data to make the twitter survey results meaningful.  I think this is because Twitter is the hardest of the tools to understand.  Used for personal and business, I think business owners struggle to find the right voice, and the results take longer to see.

What lies ahead for small business owners and internet marketing, I am not sure, but the “numbers” give us a glimpse of what is to come.

Want to see more of the statistics, be sure to check out the rest of the article on Marketing

Editor’s note:  We update this study every year.  If you are interested, click here for the results of our latest study.


 Need help? Contact Roundpeg, an Indianapolis Social Media firm.