Facebook Now Top Source of New Customers For Small Businesses

Social network tops directories as best marketing tool according to research

Over one third of UK small businesses say that they now use Facebook to drum up new customers – more than local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson Local and substantially more than print or online advertising.

Research by technology company BaseKit has found that 36% of small businesses in Britain use the social network to market themselves, where just a quarter say they rely on local directories (27%) as a source of new customers.

Twitter has also become popular with small businesses and their owners – over one-in-six (17%) use the site to scout for new customers and to market their services and the micro-blogging site is fast catching up with those who say they use print (21%) or online (20%) advertising for their marketing.


% usage



Local business directories


Print advertising


Online advertising




Trade publications


Simon Best, co-founder of BaseKit said: “Small businesses are shifting their marketing to lower-cost media like Facebook and Twitter and away from legacy media like the directories. They tell us that one-to-one marketing is their most efficient and most successful way of generating new business – the fact that Facebook has become the number one source of new business within just a few years of its creation is remarkable.”

BaseKit, which offers small businesses self-build website packages and now gets 40,000 small businesses around the world online every month, conducted the research to help inform its new online resource for small businesses – the BaseKit Learning Centre.

The research is being used to establish what small business owners want to know more about with online guides written by professionals to help them get the most from the internet.  BaseKit has created a Guide to Facebook for Small Business available at http://www.basekit.com/marketing-through-facebook-effectively

The BaseKit “Small Business Report” also found that, while vast numbers of the UK’s 1.1 million (There are 1,141,950 private enterprises with between 1-49 employees in the UK, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Autumn 2011) small businesses are online and are using sites such as Facebook successfully, there are still 660,000 that have yet to get themselves online at all (BaseKit Insight Data cites 60% of small businesses are not online). This is despite the fact that three quarters (74%) of those that do have a site say it has become critical to drumming-up new leads and to their reputation as a company.

Rachel Bridge, business expert and best-selling author of four books including “How to make a million before lunch” comments:

“It’s staggering that although businesses are embracing social media as a tool for marketing, so few are integrating tools such as blogs, video or twitter feeds into their websites.  A number of small businesses admit their sites are seriously lagging behind in the technology stakes with only one in four able to accept online payments.”

Simon Best continues:

“The simple truth is that, for a small business with customers who may be under 40, if you’re not on the web then you are more-or-less invisible. We believe that every small business in the UK should be able to take advantage of the power of the internet as a tool to grow – and should be able to create a professional website cost-effectively.”

BaseKit offers a range of sites – all designed to be compatible with mobile access, as well as traditional PCs – with a full ecommerce site costing just £100 a year and a service that enables a business to get started with a site for free.


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