More businesses in the UK are using social media networks to win customers than ever before, according to new research.

Workplace provider Regus spoke to more than 4,000 businesses and found an eight percent rise in the number of firms using social media.

In 2010, 33% of UK firms had Facebook or Twitter feeds to drum up more business. That rose to 41% by the same period in 2011.

Of the respondents, 48% said they had used social media to engage with existing customers, with 50% of companies encouraging staff to join business networks like LinkedIn.

Regus also found 33% of UK companies questioned are currently devoting up to 20% of their budget to social media marketing.

Celia Donne, regional director at Regus, explained: “Business social networking has finally come into its own in the commercial world. Particularly in the UK – where one in three social network users is a fan, follower or friend of a company page or profile – firms should expect to see an increasing proportion of marketing budget being destined to this activity.”

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