Keeping a close eye on its social media pages is just the latest need for a small business to ensure it isn't harming its image, and recent surveys don't just show that social media emphasis is on the rise, but they also highlight the fact that ignoring one specific aspect of the business can be a big misstep.

Social media increasingly important
According to Fox Small Business, a recent LinkedIn survey found that as many as 80 percent of small business owners are now investing in social media to better attract new clients and new opportunities for business to their operations. Their efforts have been successful – firms experiencing growth in their revenue over previous years are spending much more than their competitors when it comes to social media, which means they're likely seeing direct benefits in the process.

About 73 percent of businesses that see annual growth have reported increasing their social media efforts. In contrast, only 42 percent of businesses that saw no significant growth reported similar time and money spent online.

The results are paying off, too. As many as 90 percent of respondents said their efforts helped solidify their brand, while 82 percent reported seeing new customers thanks to their advertisements. That's especially important when about 66 percent of small businesses have found that expanding their business is their primary challenge. 

Surveys important as well
Yodle adds that though a small number of small business owners buy into the validity of online reviews, the format is much more important than they'd expect. While only about half of small business owners think that their online reviews are fairly important, as many as 90 percent of consumers will weigh online reviews in their shopping decisions. That can lead to a major problem when trying to improve a business.

Almost one in four said that they saw online reviews as unimportant. As a result, many business owners are heavily underestimating the importance of the surveys, not even asking for customers to help them by writing one. As many as 55 percent don't receive any reviews, while 19 percent receive less than five every month. in the event that feedback is negative, not only can they not make changes to better appeal to their market, but they may not even know that their reputation is being tarnished.

For small businesses aiming to better their business abilities, social media may be one of their best bets.

IT and tech industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in information technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.