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52% of firms use social media websites

However, 6% think the sites are useless

More than half (52 percent) of firms use social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter, says the Forum of Private Business.

However, of those firms, more than a quarter have serious concerns over the 'value' of social networking sites. Furthermore, 21 percent said the sites were 'not useful' and six percent labelled them 'useless'.

"It's clear that, while a lot of our members are certainly trying out social media for their businesses, many remain unconvinced of its benefits," said Forum spokesman Phil McCabe.

"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."

The forum also revealed that 19 percent of firms don't have a website. Of those that do, more than three quarters (76 percent) use them to list contact details, while 74 percent use a website to provide product information.

Furthermore, 18 percent said they only use traditional contact methods such as the post and telephone calls to contact their customers and suppliers.

See also: 50% of firms worried about security of Web 2.0 tools


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