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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 09, 2010

Survey: Small businesses find success with social networking

Does social networking have a role to play in the business-to-business world? Absolutely it does, according to new figures released by business workspace solutions firm Regus that show businesses large and small successfully using social networks to find and keep new business.

by Helen Leggatt

regus_logo.jpgWhile Facebook boasts over 700,000 small businesses with Fan Pages, LinkedIn is the place to be for business-to-business social networking. The network now has over 70 million members worldwide.

To find out what businesses use social networks for and the success they have had in doing so, Regus collated the insight supplied by 15,000 respondents from its 1 million-strong business contact database.

Key findings from the survey (download) include:

- Social networks are now actively used by between half and three quarters of companies worldwide for various networking functions

- 40% of businesses globally have found new customers via social networks.

- Over a quarter (27%) devotes marketing dollars to social networking activity to both acquire and retain customers.

- Keeping in contact with business contacts is the main use of social networks (58%) followed by getting together with special interest groups (54%), discovering useful business intelligence (54%) and organizing, managing and connecting with customer groups (51%).

- Surprisingly under a quarter of professionals (22%) have used business social networks to find a new job

"With 55% of online Americans registered on Facebook, any reservations towards using social networking for business purposes seem misplaced. This survey indicates that organizations who have not yet ventured into the world of social networking may be missing out on sizeable business opportunities," said Sande Golgart, vice president for Regus.

"This is particularly the case in the Netherlands (48%), India (52%), Mexico (50%) and Spain (50%), where the highest level of new customer acquisition via social networking was reported."

Tags: B2B, business-to-business, customer acquisition, customer retention, lead generation, social media, social network

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