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Follow me: Small businesses see surge in Twitter, social media for 2010
By Austin Light CHARLOTTE — It’s hard to find a business marketing conference or weekend seminar these days that doesn’t offer tips on social media. 2009 was a banner year for online communication tools like Facebook and Twitter; the former has gained more than 225 million users this year. Studies are pointing for that growth to continue, especially among small businesses looking to use the free tools to market products and services. Whether a growth in online marketing will lead to a decrease in traditional marketing remains to be seen. In a survey by VerticalResponse Inc., an email marketing company, more than two-thirds of 831 respondents — all small business owners with 500 or fewer employees — said they will use more email marketing and social media in 2010. Given the numbers online networks are pulling down, that’s not a big surprise, said Jim Mitchem of Smash Communications, a Charlotte advertising agency that uses social media extensively. “I think any business can benefit from social media, because any business can benefit from enhanced communication,” Mitchem said. “Whether it’s internally, externally, to sell a product — there are all kinds of ways it can be useful.”