A new survey has revealed that small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are beginning to see, and utilise, social media as an important part of their business strategy; even if their exploitation of these media is not as complete as it might have the potential to be.

The survey, by business insurer, Hiscox, found that of those SMEs which had ventured into using social media, the majority (27%) were, perhaps unsurprisingly, using these platforms to help increase awareness of their brand. 15% of these firms however claimed they viewed social media use as a means of helping to push up sales.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed, 11% of respondents saw social media as key channels for helping to improve levels of customer service.

Of all the social media sites used by the SMEs surveyed, Facebook came out on top, with 18% of respondents saying they preferred the popular site. Professional social network site, LinkedIn and in-house generated blogs meanwhile were still found to be favoured by 13% of respondents.

The Hiscox survey also showed however that only a small proportion of those SMEs actively engaged in social media were making the most of the opportunity.

Whilst 25% of respondents said they looked at social media whenever they could, only 12% said they felt they were devoting as much time as they could in exploiting social media tools.

Meanwhile, only 7% of respondents said they were using social media to help drive search engine optimisation (SEO).