In spite of the ascent of social media in business networking, a recently released study by Moo suggests that dealing with contacts in person yields more results. A potential £9.45bn a year in fact. That figure is for the UK’s small business community as a whole, by the way – don’t go thinking one networking event will take you into Abramovich’s financial stratosphere overnight.
This lofty figure is based upon interviews with 152 of the UK’s small business owners, with 42% believing that if they were to dish out 100 business cards, it would generate £5,000 a year or more in revenue.
Taking this £5,000 a year figure and spreading it across the UK’s 4.5 million freelancers, small and medium-sized businesses, you’re left with a potential £9.45 billion a year being netted through personal contact in business.
Of course, it’s important to note the term ‘potential’ in relation to that statistic, but despite social media becoming omnipresent in our business lives, it’s hard argue that face-to-face meeting has become redundant, even with technology offering a capable and efficient equivalent.
Business owners asked in the survey used a diverse collection of methods to deal with clients, customers and suppliers, but many apparently felt they did better networking when they could ‘see the whites of their eyes’. Bit sinister that, but you catch the drift.
Furthermore, business owners suggested that judging a person by how they look, dress or the firmness of their handshake reveals much more than anything they provide via Facebook or Twitter.
Old-fashioned marketing methods work were said to work best too. Around 32% considered word of mouth/referrals to be their biggest marketing asset, with 25% viewing this as their website and 21% believing this was their business card.
The results aren’t entirely social media-phobic though – a collection of business owners surveyed insisted that social media sites were a valuable asset to stay in touch with a wider audience, and for maintaining a business presence online.
Moral of the survey? Network from your armchair a little less.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson