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As
consumers continue to clamor to social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn
and Twitter, a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls
found that small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are not using these tools to
the fullest potential to capture their customers’ attention.

The
survey polled more than 1,100 SMB decision-makers and more than 500 consumers
throughout the United States on their use of social media. Nearly half of the
surveyed SMBs utilize social channels to market to customers; the survey found
of those, an overwhelming majority (86 percent) have Facebook accounts. The
majority of consumers surveyed (93 percent) also use Facebook, according to the
research.

According
to the survey results, consumers are more likely to "like" a business
on Facebook because of personal interest (31 percent), while SMBs named
connecting with customers (28 percent) as their reason for using
Facebook. Through Facebook, 19 percent of consumers have
"un-liked" a company or brand. Additionally, 37 percent cite special
deals/discounts as the way to get their attention on Facebook. Yet, only 10
percent of SMBs find offering specials/discounts on Facebook to be an effective
way to reach their customers on Facebook.

"The
term ‘Facebook Fatigue’ has been thrown around a lot lately, but survey data
shows that consumers are far from their saturation point with social
media," said Alex Terry, general manager of Zoomerang. "Social media
has become a way of life for consumers and it’s essential that SMBs use these
tools to their maximum potential to connect with customers."

According
to surveyed SMBs and consumers, the most effective tactics for businesses to
reach customers are wall posts and direct messages, and of SMBs and consumers
who use daily deal sites, Groupon was the most frequently used. Yet, nearly
half of surveyed consumers believe Facebook is more effective than daily deal
sites. The top three favorite features by both SMBs and consumers are photos,
messages and status updates, the survey found.

"When
marketing to customers, SMBs should consider these survey results," said
Terry. "While a special discount is a powerful approach to engage, sending
them messages directly or asking them their opinion via survey or poll is also
a persuasive way to show that they are valued and their opinions are
heard."

Zoomerang
has also introduced a survey application, Zoomerang Surveys and Polls for
Facebook. The free Facebook application not only allows users to poll their
friends on their thoughts and ideas directly on Facebook, but also provides
real-time feedback. Businesses can survey customers and prospects on their
opinions toward certain products or services as well as what they would like to
see offered. Additionally, users can add photos and video in their question and
answer choices. Plus, Facebook sharing options allow the survey or poll to
spread virally to reach people beyond one’s immediate network, a company
release noted.