The School of Business at Queen's University in Kingston, ON has releases the results of a new study on the use of social media by businesses. Of the 400 executives polled, 72% said they plan to spend the same amount or more on social media this year compared to last year. Thirty-nine percent described social media as something they need to use whether they want to or not. Thirty-five percent described the heavy use of social media as a good business opportunity, while 24% replied that such activities add no value. Increasing brand awareness was called the top benefit of using social media by 39% of respondents, followed by recruiting staff, gaining knowledge about customers, attracting new business and networking. "Too many organizations are using social media to amass shallow acquaintances, when the goal should be to develop fewer, more meaningful friendships," said Neil Bearse of Queen's School of Business. "The fact that so few executives say their companies are using social media to get to know their customers suggests that those who do may be enjoying a significant competitive advantage."