This past year has seen a rise in U.S. companies using social networks to win new business, reveals a new survey from Regus, a provider of flexible workplace solutions. According to the survey, 43 percent of firms are successfully using social networking to win new customers, up 8 percentage points from last year's survey.
The research also reveals more firms are using social media to engage with existing customers than a year ago, with the following highlights:
- 50 percent of businesses in the U.S. use Web sites like Twitter to engage, connect with, and inform existing customers.
- In the U.S., 55 percent of firms encourage their employees to join social networks like LinkedIn and Xing.
- 38 percent of U.S. companies dedicate up to 20 percent of their marketing budgets to business social networking activities.
- Globally, the survey reported a 7 percent increase in the proportion of businesses successfully recruiting new customers through social networks like Facebook.
Social networking has fully evolved from a nice-to-have to a necessity as the majority of businesses in the U.S. (69 percent), and internationally (74 percent) agree that social media activity is playing a bigger role in their marketing strategy. U.S. (64 percent) and global firms (61 percent) are also emphasizing the need for a balance of marketing media, confirming their belief that without a combination of traditional and digital techniques, marketing campaigns will not work.
The global Regus survey findings are based on the responses of more than 17,000 managers and business owners across 80 countries.
"As businesses emerge from the downturn, they are increasingly reconsidering pre-recession working practices and opting for more flexible, competitive strategies," said Sande Golgart, regional vice president for Regus. "From supply chain management, to leaner working practices, to cloud computing, to increased use of video communications and mobile working, no area of business is being overlooked. Particularly in the U.S., where MerchantCircle reports that more than 70 percent of small businesses are promoting their business on Facebook, more and more companies are leveraging this channel to increase the loyalty of existing customers, and as a successful acquisition tools."