79% of small business owners told AT&T they rely on word-of-mouth. 63% said they use a company website and only 39% said they used social media.
The numbers come from the new 2012 AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll. Overall, the poll shows that small business owners are slowly moving into social media and mobile marketing. But mobile is becoming a big part of how they run their business.
None of the social media networks saw a big rise in usage, but LinkedIn still came out on top going from 25% in 2010 to 31% in 2011. Facebook usage was at 44% up from 41% the prior year.
The losers? Twitter was at 19% usage to start and dropped to 18% in 2011. Location-based networks like Foursquare came in at only 9%.
On the upside, 25% of people who did use location-based marketing said it was an important tool. That number was only 2% year-over-year, so it’s obviously working for some businesses.
Only 4% of small businesses reporting using daily deal sites, but those who do, run multiple promotions, so again, it’s working for someone.
In a strange twist, the poll found that male business owners tend to prefer their company website for marketing, while female owners leaned toward social media. Could it be that women are more comfortable in the chatty environs of Facebook and Twitter? Or am I being too stereotypical?
Across the board, company websites came in as the most frequent means of marketing but only a third of businesses have a mobile-ready site.
Talking about technology, 63% of those surveyed said they couldn’t survive in business without wireless technology. (Remember who sponsored the poll.)
4 out of 10 businesses said all of their employees use mobile to work from home. That’s up 80% from 2008. And even though tablets are still not that common, 67% of business owners said they use a tablet to help them get through the day.
The increasing use of mobile is more proof of what we already know — that small business owners are almost always working. Even if they’re at their kid’s softball game, they’re using their phone to check email or pay bills.
To the 43% of small business workers who use their mobile devices to work from home, here’s a bit of advice. Turn it off. Not all day. Maybe not even every day. But you deserve at least a few prime hours of being wireless-less. Believe me, the break will benefit your business in the long run.
Confession time: when was the last time you took a technology break?