Manta , an online community of small businesses, has added Social Connections features for its members, which help small businesses grow their referral networks. The enhanced offerings are designed to help small business owners manage their online reputations by increasing engagement with Manta members. The main components of the new features are that they allow users to recommend a company as well as follow a company they have a connection with.
Manta, which was launched in 2005, and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, has more than 2 million registered users and more than 89 million company profiles, business owners and professionals. Initially, it was designed to become a “search destination for premium sources of business intelligence available via a pay-per-view sales model,” but in 2007, the company was thriving by offering detailed company information on small businesses. More than 25 million unique global small business owners and enterprises use Manta each month.
The Power of Referrals
Manta conducted a survey of over 1,000 small business owners  and found that 78% of them asked for recommendations, and 60% have given them for other businesses. Manta’s new social tools allow users to create recommendations for companies on Manta’s business listings. Companies have control over which recommendations appear on their company page.
“Unlike the traditional rating and review sites which have a very consumer-focused offering, Manta’s recommendations are business-focused and can be controlled by the business owner, allowing them to better manage their online reputation,” said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta, “While some networks cater to individuals to help manage their career or others who help connect with family and friends, Manta is the only community dedicated entirely to helping SMBs market and grow their business.”
“Follow this Company” Feature
Another component of Manta’s Social Connections is the ability of users to follow companies they are interested in. Members can follow companies where they have worked, or organizations that they have been members of. Small businesses can also follow other businesses. Any notifications the business posts will automatically appear on the follower’s profile.
Manta’s new social component is indicative of more business sites jumping on the social bandwagon. The more interactive and engaging a business site is, the stickier it becomes, and the more traffic it draws.