44% of Korean Businesses Use Social Networks
By Bryan Joseph
Social networking has become a mainstream business tool in Korea with 44% of businesses having successfully used social networks to win new business, reveals a new global survey commissioned by global workspace solutions provider Regus.
Testimony to the faith businesses are now putting in the social networking medium is seen in the revelation that 33% of Korea businesses have set aside a proportion of marketing budget – hard cash – specifically devoted to social networking activities.
Up to now, relatively little analysis is available regarding the real use businesses are making of social networking and whether hard business can be generated through this channel. To glean whether businesses globally believe that social networking is ready to take its place among an array of marketing tools, the Regus survey asked business leaders not only whether they had made any customer wins using social networking, but also whether they believed the channel effective enough to be awarded its own portion of marketing budget.
In Korea specifically 33% of businesses have set aside a proportion of marketing budget specifically devoted to social networking activities. 44% of respondents in Korea used social networking to keep in touch with contacts, below the global average (of 58%). 44% of respondents declared that the main usefulness of social networks was the possibility of managing and connecting to customer groups (globally 51%) and 67% use social networks to find important business information. 22% of respondents were sceptical that social networking could ever become an effective customer retention or prospecting tool compared to the 34% global average.
Globally, social networks are still used for their original range of functions. The most popular use of social networks is staying in touch with business contacts, with 58% of respondents globally declaring they use networks in this way. Joining special interest groups is also popular (54%). Although a number of sceptics (34%) believe social networking will never become a significant method of connecting to customers and prospects, a full 51% of firms organise, connect to or manage customer groups via social networks. 54% of firms use social networks to find out useful business information. Surprisingly, however, only 22% of respondents had found new employment through social networking, this in spite of the specific job search functions of networks such as LinkedIn.
The survey also analysed company size differences and found that overall small companies were a little more likely than average to use social networking. Perhaps due to this greater than average effort with the medium, 44% of small companies have successfully acquired new customers through social networking compared to medium companies (36%) and large businesses (28%). The only exception to this trend is that a smaller than average number of employees at small firms had found new employment through social networking. This result can best be interpreted in light of slower staff turn over in small companies than their larger counterparts. Although employees in medium companies were the most likely to have found employment via social networking (25%), medium businesses were also the least likely to use social networks to organise, manage or connect to customer groups (45%).
On a sector basis, the ICT, Retail, Media&Marketing and Consultancy sectors made and above average use of social networking, while Manufacturing, Financial Services and the Health sector were lagging behind. Only 19% of companies in the Financial Services sector had devoted budget to their social networking activities compared to 38% in the Retail and Media&Marketing sectors. Also in the Financial Services sector only 26% of companies had successfully won new customers via social networking compared to 48% and 46% in the Media&Marketing and ICT sectors.
Jessy Kure, VP North Asia, Regus, comments: “Our groundbreaking global survey has revealed that social networking has finally become a mainstream business tool. Although there is a hardcore of sceptics globally, who do not believe that social networks will become a significant method of reaching customers and prospects, a significant proportion of firms are devoting real marketing budgets through the medium to acquire new customers and keep existing ones.
“Whilst the most popular function of these networks remains that of keeping in touch with contacts, businesses are also successfully acquiring new customers, supporting their retention efforts and interacting with customer groups. This survey indicates that organisations who have not yet ventured into the world of social networking may be missing out on sizeable business opportunities. This is particularly the case in the Netherlands (48%), India (52%), Mexico (50%) and Spain (50%), where the highest level of new customer acquisition via social networking was reported.”
About Regus Regus is the world’s leading global provider of innovative workspace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus delivers a new way to work, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Clients such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core business.
Over 650,000 clients a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of more than ,1000 locations in 450 cities and 85 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. In Korea, the Regus offices are located at Seoul Gangnam Kyoung Am Building, Seoul Korea First Bank and Seoul World Trade Center .For more information please visit: www.regus.co.kr
For more information and images please visit www.regus.presscentre.com
For more information on the survey, please visit: http://www.regus.presscentre.com/Resource-Library/Social-Success-1cf.aspx
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