The last year has seen a rise in South African companies using social networks, blogs, microblogs and forums to win new business, says a new global survey from Regus. In 2010 Regus found that 43% of South African firms were successfully winning new customers through business social networking activity. A year later, the proportion has risen eight percentage points to 51%. The research also reveals that globally more firms are also using social media to connect and engage with existing customers than a year ago.
- Globally there has been a rise of 7% in the proportion of businesses successfully recruiting new customers through social networks such as Facebook
- 52% of businesses globally and 55% in South Africa use websites such as Twitter and Weibo to engage, connect with and inform existing customers
- In South Africa 54% of firms encourage their employees to join social networks such as Linkedin, Xing and Video, compared to 53% globally.
- Two fifths (39%) of companies globally and a third in South Africa (33%) devote up to 20% of their marketing budget to business social networking activity.
Social networking has fully evolved from a “just another app” to a necessity as 74% of businesses in South Africa and internationally agree that without social media activity marketing strategies cannot hope to be successful. Nevertheless, 69% of South African and 61% of global firms 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 over 17,000 managers and business owners across 80 countries.
Regus spokesperson comments: “As businesses emerge from the downturn they are increasingly reconsidering pre-recession working practices and opting for more flexible, competitive strategies. 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 South Africa where Facebook reached 3.904.420 active users on 4th April 2011, more and more companies are leveraging this channel to increase the loyalty of existing customers.”