Everyone knows and recognizes the big brand names like Pepsi, Virgin, or L'Oreal for a number of reasons but the most apparent is that we see them all the time in magazines, billboards, commercials... anywhere they can attach their logo. Why? How? Extremely large budgets. This is not something most small businesses have. Therefore, they have to think smarter - not harder. This is where social networks come into play. The main reason is that it is essentially virtually free exposure.
The 2011 Social Media Phone Number List Marketing Industry Report, now in its third year of publication, surveyed more than 3,300 business marketers, of which nearly half were of the category of self-employed or small business. The results showed that during the three years of the report's existence, using social media for marketing purposes has gone from a niche idea to 'we need to get on the bus' to 'this is the only marketing one needs.' Now if I may backtrack slightly, one must understand that the variety of small businesses out there ranges from freight to personal care to international funding groups, so there's quite a distance from A to Z. This in turn provides a way for the small businesses not only to generate exposure for their brand but to also stand out to a defined consumer base.
What social media networking and marketing have allowed small businesses to do is to put them out into the market with the "Big Boys" and be competitive on an equal playing field and succeed sometimes simply by tweeting something to the effect of, 'hey, we are at First and Main...See you there.' The same report goes on to note that those who spent at a minimum of six hours per week working the social media scene saw double the amount leads versus those who spend five hours or less. While certainly there are circumstances under which less time spent may concede equal or better results, nevertheless a commitment of six hours per week produces far better results.