The global survey, commissioned by global workspace solutions provider Regus, found that in Australia 43 percent of small businesses gained new customers through social networks. The survey also found that 26 percent of Australian businesses had set aside a proportion of marketing budget to social networking activities.
The survey demonstrates how social networking is becoming an important marketing tool for businesses, says Vice President for Australia & New Zealand at Regus William Willems.
“Our groundbreaking global survey has revealed that social networking has finally become a mainstream business tool. Although there is a hardcore of sceptics globally, who do not believe that social networks will become a significant method of reaching customers and prospects, a significant proportion of firms are devoting real marketing budgets through the medium to acquire new customers and keep existing ones,” Mr Willems said.
The Regus survey also found that social networks were still primarily used for their original range of functions, with 58 percent of respondents using social networks to stay in touch with business contacts. This was followed by 54 percent of firms using social networks to find out useful business information and 51 percent using the networks to organise, connect to or manage customer groups.
These results show the potential for expanding and managing business brands and customer bases, according to Mr Willems.
“Whilst the most popular function of these networks remains that of keeping in touch with contacts, businesses are also successfully acquiring new customers, supporting their retention efforts and interacting with customer groups. This survey indicates that organisations who have not yet ventured into the world of social networking may be missing out on sizeable business opportunities,” Mr Willems said.