Millions of small business owners across the country are now using technology in a large number of ways, but those who are also taking advantage of emerging options are growing in number as well.
Today, nearly three-quarters of small business owners say they're using social media to market their companies and 44 percent advertise through these sites, according to the latest Mobile Technology Survey from Constant Contact. In addition, nearly two-thirds of those polled said they are now using mobile devices or solutions – including smartphones and tablets, or mobile websites and text marketing – as part of their everyday business needs.
"It's encouraging that a majority of small businesses recognize that their customers are relying more than ever on their mobile devices to find information, look for deals, and even to make purchases," said Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Constant Contact. "That said, small business owners are still getting their sea legs, so it's not surprising that they're leading with two areas where they have a solid track record of success with customer engagement: social media and email."
In addition, when it comes to the platforms mobile-ready small businesses rely upon, it seems that iOS is beginning to far outstrip Android, the report said. In all, 66 percent of those polled said they use Apple's mobile operating system, compared with just 39 percent who use Google's. Moreover, nearly half of those polled said they also use iPads, compared with just 15 percent who rely on Android tablets.
Interestingly, businesses are not only using apps and other mobile technologies to connect with customers, but also to handle things on their own end, the report said. More than four out of five say they use calendar or other time management apps to help run their companies, compared with slightly less than three-quarters which use them to communicate with customers. A little more than half also use GPS or other map-related apps with regularity, and 44 percent each use accounting or invoicing and industry news applications.
Independent company owners may need apps to run their businesses on a daily basis, but they also typically need small business insurance policies as well. Increasing mobile use can lead to a greater chance for data breaches and other such issues, and having tech insurance may be wise for many companies going forward as a result.