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Indian companies prefer face-to-face meetings over social networking

Social networking sites might be catching the public’s imagination but Indian companies still feel face-to-face meeting will be the most effective way to lure customers in the next two to three years, says a survey.

A study by global workspace provider Regus, conducted among over 600 senior business managers, has found that a majority of companies (62 per cent) in India believe face-to-face networking will be the most effective way to find new customers over the next two to three years.

Besides, an increasing number of Indian companies (61 per cent) also predicts social media as an effective business tool, compared to 47 per cent in previous three years.

“Face-to-face networking remains the top new business technique, despite a 10 per cent fall over the previous period … The rise and rise of business social media networks mean that today they are as essential a tool to finding new customers as face-to-face interaction,” Regus Global Director (Product and Business Development) Andre Sharpe noted.

However, the increasing importance of professional social networking sites such as BranchOut, Viadeo and Xing stands out in the research, also witnessed by increasing user volumes, with LinkedIn having reached more than 135 million members.

Interestingly, small businesses (65 per cent) believe that face-to-face networking will be key to recruiting customers over the next three years, compared to only 57 of large businesses.

Besides, 59 per cent of respondents also declare online advertising to be one of the top channels to find new customers in the next three years, up from 49 per cent in the previous three years.

Attending trade exhibitions (46 per cent) and public speaking at key events (34 per cent) are also regarded as significant tools for future customer recruitment, the survey noted.