The pressure is on law firms to get their heads around social networking if they want to tap into the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) market, with new research showing that social networking has been embraced by more than 40 per cent of SMEs.
The latest MSI Global Alliance Quarterly Business Survey, which polled more than 500 businesses, showed that 43 per cent of SMEs now use social networking sites and tools to assist their businesses in areas such as direct communication with clients, managing alumni groups and in recruiting staff.
In addition, 52 per cent respondents said that they believe social networking is valuable from a business perspective; with 48 per cent saying it could help them better communicate with clients.
For those respondents already using social networking in their business, the areas where it bought the most value were connecting with business colleagues (41 per cent), building brand awareness (29 per cent), and "growing my businesses" (31 per cent).
Of the different social networking tools available, sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn were the most popular (39 per cent), followed by forums (12 per cent), blogs (7 per cent), micro-blogging sites such as Twitter (5 per cent) and content communities such as YouTube (3 per cent).
However, not all businesses have been won over, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they do not intend to incorporate social networking into their marketing and business plans in the next 12 months. In addition, 20 per cent of respondents still believe social networking holds no value for them, with another 28 per cent undecided.
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