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Small businesses now understand the value of social media and have climbed aboard the bandwagon. They are ramping up their social media efforts, including finding and sharing content on popular social networks and blogging, a new survey shows. But the competing demands are creating additional work and pressure on budgets, turning many small business owners into resource jugglers.
Two-thirds of small businesses are spending more time on social media than they did a year ago, according to a survey of 652 small businesses conducted by VerticalResponse, a company that provides self-service marketing solutions for small companies. Nearly half (43 percent) spend six or more hours per week on social media activities for their business. Another quarter spend six to 10 hours a week and nearly one in five (18 percent) spend 11 or more hours each week.
Facebook and Twitter are the stars of the social media show for small businesses, the survey found. A vast majority of small businesses (90 percent) are active on Facebook and nearly 70 percent use Twitter, followed by LinkedIn (50 percent). In comparison, only 32 percent are on Google+ and 29 percent are on Pinterest.
More than half (55 percent) of small businesses surveyed have a blog. Of those, 43 percent publish a blog post at least once a week. Nearly half (45 percent) spend one to three hours to create one post, while 16 percent spend more than three hours.
Though small business owners see posting as a valuable activity, they also understand the time commitment required. Respondents said that finding and posting content still places the greatest demands on their time, followed by learning and education, analyzing their social media efforts and following competitors' activities.
This increased activity places new demands on small business budgets. More than 22 percent reported an increase in their social media budget compared with a year ago, while only 6 percent reported a decrease.
"Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media," said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder. "They're spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who's handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time."
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.