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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 02, 2010

92% SMB owners recommend business-focused online networking

A survey of small businesses in the U.K. reveals that the vast majority support and recommend the use of networking online via business-focused websites such as LinkedIn and Xing.

by Helen Leggatt's Business Networking Trends survey of over 250 participants (83% of which were board level or proprietor, and 92% from firms with fewer than 50 staff) found that two-thirds feel they are closer to their intended market, or customers, via online networking.

In fact, so impressed are small business owners with the performance of online networking that 92% would recommend their contacts network professionally online.

The survey also found that while nearly a quarter of small businesses are using Twitter for business networking, 39% are wary of using Facebook for business reasons and refuse to add business contacts as friends, perhaps keeping the social networking site for personal use. Just under half (48%) conduct their professional networking on business-focused networks such as LinkedIn and Xing.

"What motivates entrepreneurs is real business," explained Ian Hendry, founder and CEO of "They want online networks to broker introductions to other professionals with a need for what they do. It may be a function of the recession that business people now expect a much more tangible return from the time they invest online. Clearly, not all networking sites are delivering."

Other findings from the survey include:

- 59% have won customers or done business as a direct result of online networking sites

- 78% are open to purchasing from contacts made on such sites

- Over half plan to increase online networking activities

Tags: small business, SMB, social marketing, social media, social networking, trends, U.K.

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