Some small business owners are having a hard time making friends with social media. Despite the popularity of social media networks among the general population, one in four small businesses are still not fans of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Groupon, according to research by email and social networking service iContact.
The iContact Small Biz Survey polled more than 1,000 small business owners and ranked the love or hate they feel for social media networks. The study showed varied feelings across the board for each of the top social media platforms.
- Facebook leads all platforms in "likes," with 75 percent of respondents giving it a favorable rating. Those in travel and tourism and the events industries showed the most love for Facebook with a 90 percent approval rating.
- LinkedIn performed second-best with a 63 percent favorable rating. The biggest fans of LinkedIn, at 84 percent, came from companies with revenues more than $25 million annually.
- Twitter experienced a near even split, with a 56 percent favorable rating. Almost 80 percent of those in government and politics showed the most love for Twitter.
- Google+ had a 48 percent favorable rating among respondents, but the jury is still out for the popular search engine's venture into social media. The biggest fans of Google+ come from e-commerce businesses at 64 percent.
- Groupon had the worst rating among small businesses with 70 percent of respondents giving it a negative rating. Across the board, Groupon had negative ratings, but those in the events industry were harshest, giving it an 84 percent hate rating.
"It's not surprising that there are a few staunch holdouts, but the social revolution is here, and three-fourths of our respondents find tremendous value in it," said iContact chief executive officer Ryan Allis. "We've seen email marketing make an incredible impact on our customers' businesses, and social media is growing so quickly it may soon eclipse email audiences, giving small businesses the power to sell and market their services in new, affordable and viral ways."
Small business owners said they have eschewed social media because it is difficult to learn how to use and they are not confident it will help them send the appropriate message about their business. iContact, however, is looking to convert these holdouts with the "Social Media: Love it or Hate it" campaign.
"We've helped small businesses grow with email marketing tools and now want to help them manage their social media communications," said Allis. "We're going to show them how to do it, as easily and effectively as possible."
This effort by iContact invites small business owners to share their opinions of social media in a video. The best submissions from both the love and hate categories will win $10,000 and second place videos will win $2,500 each. To submit a video or get the full rules and details, those interested can go to the contest homepage.
"Small business owners are a great barometer for these social products and platforms, because when something helps them hire, sell or otherwise proves valuable, they're passionate proponents," said Allis. "But when they are strapped for money and time, they're quick to say if something's not worth the investment of either."