An increasing number of marketers are garnering crucial business data from social networks, a new survey from Cisco Systems reveals.

The study shows that three-quarters (75 per cent) of firms obtain data from social media platforms, while 50 per cent make use of microblogging portals.

Cisco’s survey also found that small and medium-sized companies are also capitalising on the social media revolution, with many saying that they use social networks to generate email leads.

The majority of the survey’s respondents said they expect consumer-based social networking and collaboration tools to continue to evolve and to have an increasingly important role in the way business is conducted.

Nick Earle, senior vice-president at Cisco Services, said: “The rise of the connected consumer is driving a market shift in the enterprise, creating ‘people-powered business’.”

He added that in order to use social media successfully, firms have to design IT architecture capable to making the most of social networking technology.

According to Baz Khuti, chief IT architect at Emerson, collaboration tools are one of the best ways to improve speed and corporate agility.

Posted by Suzanne Stock – Communications Director, HR, Online Advertising, General Marketing