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Why Business Owners And Suppliers Should Be More 'Social'

Most small business owners are using social media for marketing their businesses, but most aren't using it to interact with suppliers. A new study from business research and advisory organization CEB says that could be a misstep.

“Amazingly, [Small and medium-sized businesses] owners’ use of social media as a marketing channel is still an untapped gold mine,” said Jonathan  Dietrich, senior director of CEB's marketing to small business leadership council, according to Internet Retailer. “It generates tremendous amounts of data that marketers should leverage to create new business opportunities and significantly improve sales performance.”

Businesses are becoming more aware of the suppliers presence on social media, but they still haven't tapped into the potential. The study showed awareness has grown from 38 percent to 50 percent in a two-year period. In that same survey, of the small and medium size business owners surveyed, those that saw their suppliers' social media pages, 40 percent more said they felt positive about the supplier's brand.

The study concludes that Facebook is the top social media site for business owners to promote their own businesses, but the top social network used by most business owners is LinkedIn. The numbers for business owners who interact with suppliers through social media remains slim: LinkedIn (10 percent), Facebook (6 percent), Twitter (5 percent); Google-plus (5 percent), YouTube (2 percent), Instagram (2 percent), and Flickr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Sales Spider, Tumblr and Yelp were all 1 percent.

The study gave some indication why suppliers are cautious on social media: risk.

"The study’s results show that SMB owners often complain about suppliers’ excessive advertising through social media, and that they advertise items that do not relate to them and that invade their personal social media feeds," InternetRetailer wrote."

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