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Businesses Encouraging Employees to Get Social

While it's not news that businesses continue to turn to social media to attract customers, a new study finds they're also asking their employees to do the same.

In a survey released this week from Regus, a provider of flexible workplace solutions, 55 percent of U.S. businesses encourage their employees to join social networks like LinkedIn and Xing as a way to generate interest in their businesses.

Overall, 43 percent of U.S. businesses said they are successfully using social networking to win new customers – up eight percentage points from last year's survey.

The research also reveals more firms are using social media to engage with existing customers.

The survey’s key findings include:

  • 50 percent of U.S. businesses use websites such as Twitter to engage, connect with and inform existing customers.
  • 38 percent of U.S. companies dedicate up to 20 percent of their marketing budget to business social networking activity.

It’s not just U.S. businesses, however, that are using social media to their benefit. Globally, the survey reported a 7 percent increase in the proportion of businesses successfully recruiting new customers through social networks like Facebook

Businesses using social media networks are now viewing social media more as something they need to have — rather than something that’s just nice to have, according to the survey. The research shows that 69 percent of U.S. businesses and 74 percent of businesses abroad agree that social media use is playing a bigger role in their marketing strategies.

Despite the notable rise in social media activity, businesses aren’t quickly abandoning their traditional marketing tactics to focus on the new medium.

In the U.S., 64 percent of the surveyed businesses said they are 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 more than 17,000 managers and business owners across 80 countries.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.