More than half of Britain’s small to medium-sized enterprises now use social media – but many doubt its value.
A new survey by the Forum of Private Business found that 52% of its members now use popular networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But, of that 52%, 27% expressed serious doubts about their merit – 21% said they were not useful and 6% described them as useless.
Only 7% of respondents who use social media said it was very useful for their businesses, with 18% saying merely that it was useful.
Commenting on the findings, FPB spokesman Phil McCabe said: “We believe that social media does hold a great deal of potential for many SMEs. Its conversational, real-time nature makes it ideal for entrepreneurs and small, dynamic firms which often have much more relaxed attitudes towards public relations than big corporations. Also, sites like Twitter can provide valuable and cost-free feedback on customer and client satisfaction.
“However, small businesses are a diverse bunch and what works for one company may well not be suitable for another.”
The survey of 5,800 business owners also found that, nationally, 19% of SMEs still do not have a website. Also, almost a fifth of small firms still only communicate with customers and suppliers through traditional means.