Social media helping small businesses stretch their ad dollars - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Social media helping small businesses stretch their ad dollars

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The 6th annual Staples National Small Business Survey found that seven out of 10 small-business owners are optimistic about the future. Further, 52 percent of small-business owners revealed they would look to grow their business through advertising and direct marketing if they had a larger marketing budget.

Despite the uncertain economic times, the majority of small-business owners are looking to grow their business in 2012, even though two-thirds (66 percent) of small-business owners only have a budget of just over $2,000 for marketing and advertising.

Marketing a small business can be a challenging task due to a limited advertising and marketing budget. Many small-business owners are turning to social media to promote their products and achieve their business goals.

"Successfully marketing your small business is the life blood of any company, but with limited budgets, entrepreneurs must be creative and resourceful in those efforts," says Rieva Lesonsky, CEO and President, Grow Biz Media. "Any marketing boost a company receives can make all the difference in the world, especially in this current business climate."

The local newspaper and advertising flyer, as well as radio and television stations continue to be good sources for promoting a local business and getting your company's name out. The challenge is knowing how to stretch your advertising budget between these media outlets to attract clients.

That's why Staples is holding a "Give Your Small Business the Push it Needs" contest to make it easy for five small businesses to win $50,000 in free television advertising in their home markets, giving them a larger marketing budget to help achieve their business goals.

"Staples wanted to do something unique to support small businesses in their local markets," said John Giusti, vice president of small business marketing at Staples "The 'Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs' contest will help small businesses achieve their business goals in 2012 by providing an advertising boost to help their bottom lines."

The Staples survey revealed that more small-business owners are turning to social media with 35 percent increasing their social media presence in the past year. Small businesses can enter to win the "Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs" contest by submitting a 15-second video about their company on Of those submissions, five winning small businesses will be chosen to receive 15 seconds of advertising in a 30-second Staples television ad to run in their local market. The prize package is valued at $50,000 worth of local cable television airtime and includes $500 in Staples Copy and Print or Staples EasyTech(TM) services. Winners have a choice of either $50,000 in advertising or $40,000 in advertising plus $10,000 in cash.