Small businesses ignore social networking

Social networking

Very few small businesses are taking advantage of the benefits social networking can bring, according to new research.

The study, conducted by web hosting firm Fasthosts, showed 77 per cent of small firms had never used social networking and only 27 per cent had used online technologies to contact their customers.

This was despite other Fasthosts research showing how important a social networking presence could be for businesses. Out of 1,000 UK consumers surveyed, 38 per cent said they regularly looked at a company's social networking profiles.

Steve Holford, marketing director of Fasthosts, said: "For many small firms, battling for online visibility can be a real stress and seem too daunting a challenge to take on."

"However, every business owner should know that there are now low-cost, point-and-click solutions for both improving search engine positions and understanding how their website is being used".

There is some awareness in the business community though that this is an area they need to pump more funds into.

Just over a third (34 per cent) of respondents claimed they were worried about how visible they were online, whilst one in five admitted their companies may have been held back by a lack of investment in online strategies.

"Research shows that consumers now expect to analyse online reviews and branded multi-media material as part of their online purchasing decisions," added Holford.

"Every small business can gain from demonstrating a commitment to their audience through interacting online, and presenting their activities proactively on popular social media channels."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.