Over one third of 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. That’s the findings of a survey by website builder BaseKit. They 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 as a source of new customers.
It’s not really a surprise that the Yellow Pages and Thomson are less attractive to businesses these days. Any copies I receive along with BT’s telephone directory go straight into the recycling bin unopened. Why when I have a computer and a smartphone would I ever want to refer to a paper directory which only covers a tight geographical area? Most of the businesses I want to contact aren’t based in Thatcham where I live so the print directories are worse than useless and slower than a smart phone.
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.
Simon Best, founder of BaseKit
Whilst online retailers may struggle to figure out how to best use Facebook to generate sales, the same isn’t true for other forms of businesses. If you provide services, anything from Window Cleaning to Accounting, or have a business such as restaurants, hotels or holiday lets then you should be figuring out how to use Facebook and Twitter to work for you.
The report also highlights how many businesses are becoming “Digital Dinosaurs” with 60% of UK small businesses yet to get online. Of those that are online 11% say their websites use out of date technology and a further 11% describe their company’s online presence as either “poor” or “embarrassing”. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs for the country who’s consumers spend more online per head of population than anywhere else in the world!