Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

Almost Half of Small Businesses Find Customers in Social Networks

In social media, is there truth to the proverb, “seek and ye shall find?”

As our experience in new media matures, learning what it is we wish to seek and also accomplish is at the forefront of rapid evolution. Converting questions into objectives is how we grow and succeed. While the opportunities within social media in general are sweeping, one such possibility that’s largely untapped in business social networking is the ability to find customers and prospects as well as learn what inspires them to make decisions and share experiences.

Customers and those who influence their decisions take to social media to learn, discover and share. As a result, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as hyper-local networks including Yelp and Foursquare are evolving into potent touchpoints for customer acquisition and retention.

Social Networks in Customer Acquisition

Regus, a provider of workplace solutions with over 1,100 business centers in 85 countries, recently published a study that explored the role of social media in customer acquisition. Based on input from senior managers and business owners around the world, the study found that almost one-half of small businesses are successfully connecting with prospects through social networks. On the other side of the spectrum, only 28% of large firms reported finding new customers in social networks. Medium-sized businesses landed appropriately in the middle at 36%.

A Global Perspective

The worldwide survey also ranked countries who found success in customer acquisition in social networks. With 14 countries reporting, an average of 40% reported that social networks were indeed ripe for converting prospects into customers. At the very top of the list, 52% of businesses in India reported success followed by Mexico, Spain, The Netherlands and China with 50%, 50%, 28%, and 22% respectively. The US ranked 7th with 35%.

1. India – 52%
2. Mexico – 50%
2. Spain – 50%
3. Netherlands – 48%
4. China – 44%
5. South Africa – 43%
6. Germany – 41%
6. Australia – 41%
7. US – 35%
8. Canada – 34%
9. France – 33%
9. UK – 33%
10. Japan – 30%
11. Belgium – 27%

combination of search and focused keywords

This is Just the Beginning

Leading metrics firm, comScore, released its Q1 U.S E-Commerce Spending Report and found that Facebook and Twitter visitors spend more money online than average Internet users. And, as social networks usage increases, so does the propensity to spend online.

These numbers will only continue to grow. Everything begins with search, and for those businesses who master the art and science of transforming basic search queries into lead generation in social networks will find an entirely new landscape of opportunities.  The question is, what are you going to do about it? And once you’ve converted prospects into customers, how will social media factor into your retention and advocacy strategies?

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google Buzz, Facebook
Please consider reading, Engage!: It will help you find answers to your questions…

Get Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and The Conversation Prism:

Image Credit: ShutterStock

201 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Almost Half of Small Businesses Find Customers in Social Networks”

  1. Chris Woods says:

    Thanks for the great post, Brian.

    If readers want to download the full Regus social networking survey ‘Social Success’ please visit our The Future Of Work website:

  2. these days the scenario has changed a lot and made every thing happening that we have to be in the socail media , and it seriusly gives you a huge amount of results after working on the social part .

  3. Jamie Turner says:

    Another great post, Brian. Keep up the great work!

    Jamie Turner

  4. briansolis says:

    Jamie, appreciate it. Thank you!

  5. robingandhi says:

    Hi Brian, Really interesting stuff here. Thanks for posting. Out of curiosity, what is the definition of customer aquisition as it relates to this survey? Are the acquistions generating substantial new business from a revenue perspective? I know this is always hard to measure, but was wondering if this is attached to the survey conducted. Thanks again!

  6. Jeff Pinkham says:

    I put this book on my wish list. Top of it as soon as I've cleared priority backlog.

  7. sitebuilder says:

    i belive that the numbers are evan bigger
    social media is the new google adwords

  8. Mritunjay says:

    Interestingly Both developed and developing countries are evenly distributed in the global perspective. Countries like India and Mexico stand on top of the list and that's definitely encouraging considering the relatively lower internet penetration. It is great for these economies to have social networks playing such important roles in customer acquisition. And to think of it, this is just the beginning.

    Great share. Thanks.

  9. LR Hand says:

    Thanks for the post, Brian. Awesome stuff!

  10. Mateer says:

    This is very true. I really on line for almost 90% of my customer and I am small business owner selling of id supplier and id lanyards

    thank for the post, awesome.

  11. Chris Woods says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Regus study in the webinar today, Brian.

    If anyone wants to read the research in full, I've posted it to here:

  12. Woodendart says:

    I have so much to learn I have gotten so few customers from social media but I have so I guess that makes me part of the half!!

  13. WCS says:

    We are small busniess and we are still trying here with social networking! You gave us a hope 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Mailing List

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Stay Connected