A UK non-profit organisation for SMEs has found that more than half of SMEs using social media doubt the value of networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Forum of Private Business, which conducted the survey, said that out of that 52 per cent of its members, 27 per cent expressed serious doubts about the value of the popular networking sites, with 21 per cent describing them as 'not useful' and 6 per cent labelling them as '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.
The research further found that 19 per cent of SMEs still do not have a website, and the small and medium enterprises that do have websites use them to list contact details and product information, with only 35 per cent using them for generating sales leads.
The forum though was of the opinion 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."
"However, small businesses are a diverse bunch and what works for one company may well not be suitable for another, so it's likely that our figures reflect the business owners whose firms aren't suited to social media because of the sector or market they're in," the organisation said in a statement.
18 per cent of respondents in UK said they used traditional means for marketing purposes, the survey found. When asked about the problems with technology, rated spam as the leading problem, followed by electronic fraud while costs involved in software and hardware upgrades ranked third on the list.