SOURCE: Manta

Manta

March 13, 2012 09:00 ET

Manta Launches Powerful Connection & Recommendation Features to Help Small Businesses Grow Their Referral Network

New Manta Data Finds Majority of Small Business Owners Experience More Business Growth From Referrals Than Facebook & LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2012) - Manta, the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business, today announced major enhancements to Manta.com to help small businesses build their referral network through recommendations and social connections tools, which are both optimized for mobile. In addition to growing their referral network, the new features enable small business owners to grow and manage their online reputation and more easily be found online and via mobile devices. In just the first month of its beta version, Manta's new tools have generated 19,000 recommendations and 41,000 businesses are now being followed by Manta members.

As part of Manta's new offering, members can connect themselves to businesses they have worked at, schools and universities where they've studied and organizations they belong to. This enables a unique, first-time view into the relationships and connections a small business has with Manta members. Small businesses can also connect to and follow companies. Additional features of Manta Social Connections include:

  • Connect & Grow: SMBs can now leverage connections to grow their network and stay in touch with important individuals or groups of people. Each connection gives the business added credibility by association and puts them in front of more partners, prospects and customers.
  • Follow This Company: When a person chooses to "Follow this Company," they will be kept up-to-date on key happenings related to that business. The small business owner will also be aware of who's following them, and can display who they are following on their Manta profile, helping them expand their network and reach.

"Manta's new tools are bringing the best of both worlds together by merging my social and business relationships," said Stephen Lewis, co-owner of Worthwhile Things, an online marketing firm. "With Manta.com, I can continue to grow my network, reach a broader audience and ultimately drive more valuable leads and therefore, business growth."

A new Manta study of over 1,000 small business owners found that more than half of SMBs say customer referrals have given them the biggest boost in business -- more than social networking sites, meeting people at events and personal relationships. A majority (78 percent) say they've asked for a recommendation and nearly 60 percent have given one online. Moreover, over half of small business owners say they have reviewed recommendations before selecting a new vendor or business partner. As part of Manta's newest offering, Manta Recommendations helps small business owners to:

  • Build Credibility and Buyer Trust: Customers can recommend and promote a Manta business directly from their Manta company page. Once a recommendation is published, it appears on their company page and increases the business' visibility among Manta's 30 million monthly visitors.
  • Manage Their Reputation: Manta emails the business owner when a recommendation is received and gives them complete control over when and how the recommendation is displayed.
  • Gain Visibility Anytime, Anywhere: Manta's free 'Recommendation Widget' provides an additional way for business owners to easily secure recommendations directly from their own website.

"Manta is providing a truly unique experience for the small business community," said BIA/Kelsey Analyst Jed Williams. "These new features will not only improve the way SMBs market themselves, it will help them reach an even broader audience both on Manta.com and beyond."

"As the fastest growing online small business community with more than 3,000 small business owners joining Manta every day, we listen to our community and deliver the innovative tools and functionality that enable them to continue growing their business in new ways," said Pamela Springer, president and CEO of Manta. "The latest offering is an example of the types of features we are developing on Manta.com and our mobile platform to help ensure small businesses can connect, recommend, learn and be found anytime, anywhere."

For more on the survey, please contact manta (at) bordersgratehouse (dot) com. To access the full survey results, go to http://www.manta.com/media/connections_survey_031312.

About the Survey
Manta polled 1,069 small business owners, who are members of Manta.com and have claimed their Manta business profile, via an online Silverpop survey between January 17 and January 31, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 2.98 percentage points.

About Manta
Manta helps small businesses profit, connect and grow through the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business. Millions of people come to Manta each day to buy from, partner with and connect to companies. By joining Manta, small businesses easily harness the power of the Internet. Get visible; grow your business for free at www.manta.com.

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