Krishna Baidya’s Random Musings

Facebook, Twitter, other social media help drive business for small firms

Posted on: May 8, 2009

social-media-waste-of-timeI am quite impressed with the intensity of social media bug spreads. I know a plenty of users who just can’t stay away from Facebook, Twitter or some other to let their world know about what they are up to off late. Mind you this doesn’t stop even when they are at work. Though, some experts blame this new addiction for increasing “web loitering” , small firms are actually gaining business through such social media sites. Came acrosss an interesting article in Chicago tribune with the above title:

Facebook, tweets, blogs help companies extend their reach 

Charter reservations are sailing in for Free Spirit Yacht Cruises this year despite the turbulent economy, and co-owner Angela Motola-Donofrio attributes it to a social media push.

The company is tweeting regularly on Twitter and recently launched group and fan pages on Facebook, two platforms that didn’t exist when she started in the charter business in the 1990s.

“Back when I first started, Yellow Pages was our main source of new business,” said Motola-Donofrio, who owns the company with husband Joe Donofrio. The company is targeting 300 charters this year, up about 30 percent from 2008.

The Chicago-based company, which docks its two charter boats at Burnham Harbor, is among small businesses broadening their reach through social media and blogs.

While just a few years ago the mediums were associated with the teenage and 20-something sets, that’s changed. Two-thirds of all online users visit social networks and blogs, according to data from Nielsen Online. And the largest growth in social media users last year came from the 35- to 49-year-old group.

With the average age of its readers approaching 40, didn’t consider social media the best fit until this year.

“When we started on Facebook a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure we were going to connect with people because our demographic is older,” said Brad Wilson, founder and editor in chief, who also began using Twitter recently.

The company has attracted 2,500 followers through Twitter since March 1 and nabbed 1,200 Facebook users since launching a fan page this month. Now, traffic to is streaming in at more than 1 million hits a month, up 150 percent from a year ago, Wilson said, adding that consumers’ focus on frugality also factors into the site’s growth.

Companies catering to younger customers are more likely to be veterans of social media marketing.



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