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Survey: 90% of small-business owners are networking online

September 13, 2012|By Dalina Castellanos

Surfing Facebook for hours on end isn’t just for personal pleasure anymore. About 90% of small businesses are dedicating time to networking online, according to a new survey.

Manta, an online forum dedicated to small businesses, surveyed 600 small-business owners nationwide and found that 78% say that using social-networking platforms is just as important as networking in person -- if not more so.

“Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is,” Manta Chief Executive Pamela Springer said Wednesday. “Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business.”

Social networking on sites such as Facebook and FourSquare help small businesses receive immediate referrals when customers check in or tag the companies, according to the survey, and 42% of businesses reported that a quarter of their new customers came through social-media sites.

As good as that may sound, not all businesses say their social-media efforts pay off.

The survey found that 58% of small businesses struggle to find value in using Facebook to promote their businesses or don’t have a page at all. And 25% of those surveyed said their company website drives the most business for them.

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