One-half of Canadian business owners believe social media has the potential to increase their profitability, according to a BMO Bank of Montreal survey. However, while social media tools such as podcasts and social networking sites present significant, cost-effective opportunities for businesses to engage customers, only 29 per cent of small business owners are taking advantage.
Those employers that think social media can increase their profit believe it can do so by:
•promoting their company's brand or reputation (64 per cent)
•providing broader access to consumers (63 per cent)
•encouraging word-of-mouth endorsements and referrals (62 per cent)
•selling products or services (46 per cent)
•gathering ideas or suggestions (42 per cent).
The top reasons business owners cite for not using social media are they don't consider it a valuable tool (29 per cent) and they lack knowledge about social media (19 per cent), found the survey of 502 business owners.
For those businesses that use social media tools, Facebook is the most popular choice at 70 per cent, followed by LinkedIn (32 per cent) and Twitter (31 per cent), found the survey.
While the most popular application is Facebook, there are other networks and tools that can offer benefits to businesses, said Pritesh Gandhi, senior manager of digital marketing and strategy at BMO Bank of Montreal
“LinkedIn is very effective in building and maintaining contacts for recruitment and knowledge-sharing purposes, while the effective use of Twitter can help to keep the dialogue open with your customers and respond to queries in real-time."
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