As conventional website adoption slows with surging social media use, a study by research firm IDC predicts that Facebook and other social networks will become key online platforms for home-based business promotions and commercial activity.
The IDC study found that about 40% of home-based businesses today use social networks to promote their business. While social networking is still more often used to supplement websites rather than as a substitute for them, roughly 20% of home-based businesses currently promote themselves on social networks and don't have a conventional website.
In another sign pointing to rising social media use, IDC found that nearly 40% of home-based businesses selling online do so without a website of their own, leveraging the high traffic provided by major online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon.com, Craigslist and others.
IDC also sees a significant home-based business opportunity for software engineers, app developers and website resource providers since relatively few home-based businesses with websites currently practice search engine optimization or optimize their websites for mobile device users.
"Websites have provided a relatively inexpensive way for businesses to efficiently reach local and international markets since the 1990s — and yet less than half of home-based businesses currently have them," Justin Jaffe, research manager for small/medium-sized business and home business research at IDC, said in the report. "Social networks have made online promotion less expensive and complicated, and Facebook and other social networks will become increasingly key players in empowering the marketing and commercial activity of home-based businesses."
Facebook, however, is still devising a strategy to make money from its ever-rising number of mobile users, which has helped result in its disappointing short life as a publicly traded company.By DOUG TSURUOKA, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY