Small business owners like you and I are more likely to participate in social media online than the average population. We’re more likely to be blogging and uploading videos. We’re also more likely to participate in online communities through commenting.
How do I know that? Well, it actually comes from some research by Forrester Analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. It’s in connection with their new book, Groundswell, about social media attitudes and adoption. (Check out their interactive Profile Tool, too, which Ivana Taylor clued me in to.)
They point to survey results of small businesses (with under 50 employees). Their research shows that small business owners are more engaged and involved online than the average population. Interpreting their survey results they note:
The first thing to look at is the proportion of Spectators (people who consume some form of social content) and Inactives (those who do no social activities at all). With 53%, Spectators, and only 38% Inactives, small business owners are significantly more likely to participate in social applications than the average American consumer. This tells us it’s worth putting social in your marketing budget for them.
Second, notice that Creators and Critics are well represented among this group. The Creators among them are blogging and uploading content like video – it would pay to keep an eye on them, using monitoring services like Motivequest. The high number of Critics tells you that business owners are relatively open to responding to blogs and participating in communities.
This is valuable information. However, I do offer up one observation that’s a little different: in my experience and from observing and visiting many non-technology small-business sites, I find that most small-business readers and members tend to be silent participants. Comments tend to be sparse — certainly more so than on, say, technology sites or politics sites.
Is that your experience? If you have a blog, do you get a lot of comments? And what about you — how often do you comment on other blogs and community forums?