Two new studies suggest that businesses need to be doing more on social networks. Indeed, most businesses appear to be ignoring social networks, believing them to be the preserve of students.

However, a study by the brand strategy consultancy Cone has found that a whopping 93% of people want businesses to be involved in social networking sites. In fact the respondents to the survey wanted businesses to go further. They felt that businesses should engage with their customers using social networking sites.

The fact that most businesses do not use social networking sites may be part of the explanation for the results in another survey published this week. In the study from Hitwise it is revealed that the numbers of people visiting social networking sites has fallen almost 18% in the past year. That means almost one in every five people visiting a social networking site is not finding what they want there.

And, we know from the Cone study that almost everyone actually wants to engage with businesses on social networking sites. So the people leaving social networking sites and not returning may be doing so because they aren’t able to engage with the businesses they want.

In other words, if your business does not have a presence on a social networking site which is used on a daily basis you are not connecting with many of your customers in their preferred way. It’s a bit like having a whole load of customers who speak English and insisting on talking to them in French. Eventually they will give up on you. In tough economic times it is even more important to keep the customers you have got – and in these Web 2.0 days that means engaging with them via the likes of Facebook. You ignore this as a business tool at your peril.

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