Singapore firms pussyfooting on social media

Source: Enterprise Innovation Editors While the rest of the world is relishing the many benefits of using social media in enterprise, Singapore businesses appear to be a bit more skeptical, with only 31% allotting budget for the initiative. Well over a quarter of businesses worldwide (27%) have set aside a portion of their marketing budget – hard cash – solely for social networking activities. Up till now, relatively little analysis was available regarding the real use of social networking to businesses and whether hard business can be generated through this channel. To glean an understanding of whether businesses globally believe social networking is ready to take its place among an array of marketing tools, Regus issued a survey. The Regus survey asked business leaders not only whether they achieved any customer wins using social networking, but also whether they believed the channel was effective enough to be awarded its own portion of the marketing budget. In Singapore specifically, only 31% of businesses have set aside a portion of their marketing budget for social networking activities. While almost 70% of respondents used social media to keep in touch with others, only 55% thought the best use of social networks was to manage and connect to customer groups. 55% said they used social networking to find useful business information. 31% called themselves ‘social networking skeptics’. social-media2Globally, the most popular use of social networks is to stay in touch with business contacts (60%). Many also said they use social networks to join special interest groups. 51% of businesses surveyed use social networks to organize, connect to, or manage customer groups and 54% use social networks to access business information. Despite how many people use social networks for business purposes, only 22% of respondents actually found new employment via social networking. The survey also analyzed company size differences and found that, on average, small companies were slightly more likely use social networking than larger companies. Compared to large (28%) and medium-sized (36%) companies, more small companies (44%) have successfully acquired new customers through the use of social networks. Although employees in medium companies were the most likely to have found employment via social networking (25%), medium businesses were also the least likely to use social networks to organize, manage or connect to customer groups (45%). On an industry basis, ICT retail, media and marketing, and consultancy sectors used social networking more than manufacturing, financial services, and health companies. Only 19% of companies in the financial services sector devoted a portion of their budget to social networking activities while 38% of retail and marketing and media companies did. In addition, only 26% of financial service companies won new customers via social networking compared to almost 50% in the media and marketing and ICT sectors. William Willems, Regional Vice President of SEA, Australia and New Zealand, Regus, comments: “Our groundbreaking global survey has revealed that social networking has finally become a mainstream business tool. Although there are a of skeptics 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 the medium to acquire new customers and keep existing ones. “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 organizations who have not yet ventured into the world of social networking may be missing out on sizeable business opportunities. 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.”

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