PR Newswire reports on a study by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls. Their survey of SMB decision makers AND consumers found that small-to-medium businesses are underutilizing the power of social networks. Zoomerang general manager Alex Terry says:

Heck, we look like this a LOT of mornngs… and it’s got nothing to do with Facebook.The term ‘Facebook Fatigue’ has been thrown around a lot lately, but survey data shows that consumers are far from their saturation point with social media… Social media has become a way of life for consumers and it’s essential that SMBs use these tools to their maximum potential to connect with customers.

Among the survey points we found most interesting is that while 37% of customers said that special deals/discounts are a great way to get their attention, only 10% of SMBs consider offering deals/discounts effective.

We figure there are two possible explanations for the disparity:

1. The SMBs in question are experiencing a technical problem we like to call “You’re doing it wrong!”

…Or, 2. They missed the lesson we’ve had drilled into our heads from our first fast food job back in the day — namely, “The customer is always right!”

Either way, considering 93 percent of the consumers surveyed have a Facebook profile, it would seem wise for businesses to take their opinion into consideration and start making the most of social media as a marketing tool.

One area where SMBs and consumers do agree is top features. Both groups favor photos, messages and status updates. They also agree that wall posts and direct messages are the most effective way for businesses to reach customers.

When marketing to customers, SMBs should consider these survey results…  While a special discount is a powerful approach to engage, sending them messages directly or asking them their opinion via survey or poll is also a persuasive way to show that they are valued and their opinions are heard.

We couldn’t agree more.

But don’t take our word for it. Small Business Trends offers you 18 [More] Reasons To Use Social Media. You know… in case you still haven’t learned that old lesson about customers and who’s right.