Nearly half of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are using social networks to support business growth, an HP survey has shown.
The SMB Index, which studied business trends in the past six months, found that SMEs have grown by six per cent on average, despite problems with the broader economy.
The survey polled 1,000 companies with fewer than 50 employees, and found that 48 per cent are turning to social media to help grow the business and reach new audiences.
Around half of these said that the main purpose of engaging in social media is advertising and sales.
Meanwhile, 34 per cent of SMEs use online business forums to share insights, or as a tool to seek advice.
"The internet is an important tool for business growth, and it is savvy SMEs that understand its potential beyond e-commerce," said professional branding expert Katie Ledger.
"By investing time in customers and prospective customers, whether by responding to requests for advice in business forums or making recommendations, SMEs can immediately build credibility and trust to their brand, and gain advocates."
The survey showed that SMEs focus on the specifications and functionality of PCs and notebooks when making purchasing decisions, rather than styles or brand names.
The survey also found that over 61 per cent of SMEs plan to purchase IT support and extended warranties.
Some two-thirds of respondents are optimistic about the year ahead, expecting to grow by as much as 13 per cent.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago