Online Marketing Week In Review (2/18/11)- Small Business and Social Media Edition

While you were watching IBM’s super computer, Watson, beat the puny humans at Jeopardy, here is some online marketing news you might have missed. This week’s theme is small business, social media, and online commerce.

Independent Retailers, Local Businesses Turing to More to Social Marketing To Boost Visibility

New research from an online network for local business owners finds that smaller retailers are using simple and free marketing tools like social media. But it’s still a challenge for most local businesses because of small budgets and not a lot of resources. The top marketing methods are social, search and email.

How Small Business is Using Social Media

According to this infographic, small businesses are planning to increase their online marketing spending this year. Seventy-eight percent of small business are using Twitter and 75% are using Facebook. Twitter is the platform that customers are most engaged with small businesses on. But most of the traffic and clicks on links are from Facebook profiles and pages. Sixty-two percent of small business post 8+ times a week on social networks.

How Small Businesses Are Missing Huge Web Traffic Opportunities

Small businesses are not updating their websites enough. According to a survey, 54% of small businesses update their sites less than less than once a month. The small number of sites that were updated more than five times per month saw 300% more traffic than sites updated less frequently. The study also found that maintaining a good company blog boosts traffic to a company’s website. Although small businesses are using social media, they are not integrating social media in their websites.

Survey Finds Local Marketing Dollars Go To Facebook Places Over Foursquare, Groupon

A survey indicates that 32% of local businesses are using Facebook Places to promote their businesses, with 12% planning to do so in the coming months. That compares to 8.7% who use Foursquare, with 7.6% planning to add it to their marketing efforts. Behind Foursquare in the survey is Groupon, with 6.6% of local merchants saying they’d offered a “daily deal.” But 13% of those surveyed say they plan to do so.

Yelp’s Growth is Accelerating, Despite Increased Competition from Groupon & Google

Yelp, the local review and search service site, had 45 million visitors in January and hit 16 million reviews last week. Local restaurant reviews are still the most popular on the site but has seen increased reviews in the shopping, local entertainment, heath and beauty categories. The key revenue is from local subscriptions, international adverting and daily deals products.

Have a great long weekend!