Gaining new customers is always one of the top priorities of any small business opportunity. An increasing number of companies are now using social media to improve their lead generation - to great effect.

Research by consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey found that Facebook users were 51 percent more likely to buy a product they were "following" on the site, while Twitter users reported an even stronger connection, and were 67 percent more likely to buy those products.

Social media users were also more likely to recommend companies to their friends after they began following those businesses online. Twitter users said they were 79 percent more likely to spread the word, while Facebook users said they were 60 percent more likely.

To help increase the number of customers and prospective clients following the company on those sites, many companies are linking their Web sites to the social media networks. A recent study by AWeber Communications found that more than 25 percent of small business marketers have added sign-up forms on social media sites, and another 50 percent planned to do so over the next year.




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