According to a recent study from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat (via eMarketer) the SMB market is moving forward despite the obstacles. Twitter in particular is seeing strong growth while traditional marketing vehicles like the Yellow Pages are lucky to remain stagnant.
Twitter is an interesting animal when it comes to the SMB space because it actually is not a great play for all businesses. What’s that? Twitter isn’t for everyone? No, it’s not. Despite all the reports about how many accounts Twitter has and how many are opened per day most of it is spam junk as of late. Spam accounts don’t buy anything. They don’t do anything at all but Twitter seems fine reporting an account following thousands and not producing a single tweet as a user which is a growing problem that they need to address but that’s for another post.
The SMB’s use of Twitter should be completely dependent on if their current customers and prospects are using it. That tends to be certain types of businesses like restaurants and it has a better impact in urban areas. That’s not to say it can’t work elsewhere because it does but it is not a silver bullet for all SMBs by any means. It’s not for everyone as many have found it to be a time suck that produces little because not every business’s market is there. Twitter, unlike Facebook, is not as ubiquitous and nearly as easy to navigate for many people. Because of that fact, SMB’s have to be careful as to how much of their limited resource pool they commit to it.
Fortunately, Twitter is not the only game in town and SMB’s are reaching out to find other ways to connect with their market on the Internet.
Interestingly enough, if Google can get people to put together its disparate pieces of a social effort like Hotpot and the new ability to tweet reviews the use of Twitter could actually get a lift. Online reviews are critical for all SMBs regardless of their size or market because reviews exist online whether the business is Internet savvy or not.
So what are the most effective online tools for SMBs in the online space? What are you seeing as the winners and losers in the SMB Internet space and why are they winning or losing?