A recent review of the site found that there has been a 400% year-on-year growth over the past year, with an average of up to 500 members joining each day since the launch.
In the past two years, nearly 3,000 different communities have been set up by BT Tradespace members to share information and expertise. The most popular BT Tradespace communities include a group for people who run home-based businesses and a community where new or seasoned entrepreneurs can leave advice, ask questions and share top tips.
The site is a dynamic online community for sales and marketing and offers a comprehensive directory of SME products and services. It allows members to use the latest social media tools – podcasts, videos and blogs – to promote themselves and engage with customers, partners and suppliers.
Free and easy to join, BT Tradespace also offers a secure and safe online marketplace trading platform where consumers can buy goods.
Ivan Croxford, general manager, BT Tradespace, said: “These figures show that social networking is not just a passing consumer fad, businesses are embracing it too, because of the obvious benefits it holds for companies of all sizes.
“The internet opens up a global marketplace for SMEs, helping them to compete and prosper in times of mounting economic difficulty. BT Tradespace offers a fantastic platform to exploit the full potential of the web by encouraging an ongoing open and honest dialogue with customers, colleagues, suppliers and partners”.
BT Tradespace research shows that three quarters of smaller companies see the web as a strategic business tool, and 45% make a quarter of their sales online. Social networking extends this playing field by offering SMEs the opportunity to compete with bigger firms, connect with niche audiences and target local markets.
Croxford explained: “The success of BT Tradespace reveals that companies are now realising that to prosper in the digital age, they must embrace the opportunities offered by the web and start using social networks to their full advantage”.
BT Tradespace member Tabitha Potts, who was voted runner-up as ‘Mum-Entrepreneur of 2009’ at the Women’s Business Mastermind Awards, believes the site has been an invaluable tool for trading and marketing her company. She said: “I have had 10,000 hits on my BT Tradespace page and some of these have clicked through to my main site generating sales.
“The site has a very nice clean interface and I regularly blog and upload videos. This has worked wonders for my search engine rankings so customers can find me much easier on the Internet.”
Lyn and John Hill created a Tradespace page to support their online business HedgePig, commented: “After just one month using the service, our BT Tradespace site had received over 1,600 hits. This corresponded with our main website, seeing a substantial rise in visitors and sales, resulting in a monthly turnover increase of around 20 per cent. We now feel confident in taking our business to the next level and offering a wholesale business-to-business service.”
Businesses can get free advice on how to build a successful online presence at the week-long BT Business Experience event being held from 29 June to 3 July 2009. The event taking place in central London is specifically created to show businesses how the very latest technology and business thinking can help them manage their costs, market their business more effectively and make them more competitive especially in the current environment.
About BT Tradespace
BT Tradespace.com is a 350,000-member online community, that enables businesses to sell products and services and connect with other people effectively – both building business and customer relationships.