Facebook used by a third of small businesses to attract new sales

Small businesses are using Facebook to replace local advertising

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More than one in three UK small businesses say that they now use Facebook to drum up new customers – more than local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson and substantially more than print or online advertising.

A survey by online web site provider BaseKit found that 36% of small businesses in Britain use the social network to market themselves, where just a quarter say they rely on local directories (27%) as a source of new customers.

  • 36% Facebook
  • 27% Local business directories
  • 21% Print advertising
  • 20% Online advertising
  • 17% Twitter
  • 14% Trade publications

Twitter has also become popular with small businesses and their owners – over one-in-six (17%) use the site to scout for new customers and to market their services and the micro-blogging site is fast catching up with those who say they use print (21%) or online (20%) advertising for their marketing.

While vast numbers of the UK's 1.1 million small businesses are online and are using sites such as Facebook successfully, BaseKit also discovered there are still 660,000 that have yet to get themselves online at all. This is despite the fact that three quarters (74%) of those that do have a site say it has become critical to drumming-up new leads and to their reputation as a company.

BaseKit Founder and CEO Simon Best says, "Small businesses are shifting their marketing to lower-cost media like Facebook and Twitter and away from legacy media like the directories. They tell us that one-to-one marketing is their most efficient and most successful way of generating new business – the fact that Facebook has become the number one source of new business within just a few years of its creation is remarkable."