New Survey Says Social Media Good for Holiday Business

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This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.

A new survey from comScore this week (reported in TechCrunch) suggests that social media has a positive effect of holiday purchases. Last week, the survey firm asked 425 shoppers nationwide about their buying habits this holiday season. As many as 28% said that social media had affected their purchasing decisions this year, including online product reviews and Facebook and Twitter posts from friends and trusted influencers.

That’s good news for struggling small businesses. If they haven’t already jumped on the social media bandwagon, this study suggests they should. This Mashable post from Josh Catone gives good pointers on how to reach out to and retain customers on Facebook and Twitter. The bottom line is to do so honestly and earnestly–and consistently.

But if TechCrunch, Mashable, and even the estimable Chris Brogan aren’t enough to motivate you to tweet about your business, how about a real-life success story? As I blogged earlier this week, taking its customers seriously via social media is exactly how Chicago’s Evil Squirrel Comics managed to stave off financial disaster last month.

By way of update, the store’s owner-manager Shawn King tells me that business remains unusually strong a month after reaching out to customer on Facebook and Twitter to ask them attend an emergency sale to help the store fix a surprise banking error. Apparently, some customers told King that after reading about the store’s woes on Facebook, they came in to make purchases of items they hadn’t even planned to buy–just to help the store out.

That kind of loyalty arising from a thoughtful commercial use of social media speaks loudest of all as a reason to take your business Facebook and Twitter accounts seriously. Don’t you think?

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What do you think?