According to a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research, Inc 500 businesses are finding social media useful for business. While the majority are using Facebook (71%), they find the forums/bulletin boards provide the most Return on Investment. The findings are interesting. The top two tools are message boards/forums and online video.
Message boards or forums (both ranked 93%) can provide real time answers or tips for small business owners as well. Starting a forum or jumping in to appropriate forums can develop recognition of your expertise. Video can be a fantastic tool whether you’re creating a virtual open house or providing a training seminar.
Blogging and Facebook are the next highest valued tools (ranked 86% and 85% respectively). Nothing can dilute a message when provided directly like through a business blog. And Facebook is the newest networking tool building business–and people thought it was just going to be a fad.
What the report doesn’t share is what industry uses which tool nor why they feel they get the most value from the tools used. What’s important for the small business owner is to determine which elements to use (probably some, not likely all) that works most for reaching current or future clients.