SMEs Do Not Find Social Networking Useful

by on 14/10/2009

A new Citibank survey shows that 76% of small business executives in the US have not found social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to be helpful in generating business leads or expanding their business during the last year. And 86% say that they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.

This is quite a blow to the twitterati, those who expound the virtues of social networking for businesses. At best, it can be argued that SMEs simply don’t get social networking. In other words, the benefits are there for the taking, it’s just that companies don’t have the manpower, time or skill to take advantage of these new channels. At worst, it implies that social networking is simply not for business. Twitter is great for following what Stephen Fry had for breakfast, but not for selling your wares to other businesses.

The truth is somewhere between the two extremes. Today, businesses can find advice and information using social networking sites. They can also generate business leads, but this is limited by how many other businesses are using the same tools.  It is clear from looking at the behaviour of our children that the next generation will take social networking for granted and its use will be omnipresent in years to come.  Between now and then the usefulness of social networking sites will gradually increase.

In other words, get out there and learn to use these tools, because it is the future.  But don’t spend too long on them as their time for providing serious business benefit is not yet with us.


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