New Delhi: Businesses in India and other emerging markets are using social media platforms more than their developed-market peers for expanding their customer relationships and for hiring purposes, says a KPMG survey.

According to the survey, conducted among nearly 4,000 managers and employees around the world, more than 70 percent of businesses in India use social media, while the same is even higher in China at 88 percent.

In Brazil also, 68 percent of businesses use social media to reach out to their customers and prospective employees.

In contrast, the adoption of social media is much lower in developed countries -- 27 percent in Japan, 41.6 percent in Australia, 41.7 percent in Sweden, 43 percent in Germany, 48.2 percent in the UK, 51 percent in Canada and the 71 percent in the US.

"The adoption of social media is widespread for businesses in the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil who – on average- are 20 to 30 percentage points more likely to use social media than counterparts in the UK, Australia, Germany or Canada," KPMG noted.

Overall, more than 70 percent of organisations operating across the globe surveyed are now active on social media.

The report also said that organisations that attempt to restrict access to social networks to eliminate employee use may suffer the consequences.

It noted that one-third of employees surveyed with blocked access were not only using social media at the office, they were 'jail breaking' their work devices to satiate their social networking needs.

The report attributed the adoption of social media services in the emerging markets to rapidly declining cost of internet access and devices in these places.

In addition, the majority of businesses use social media to enhance their relationships with their customers. But more than half of the respondents are also expanding their use of social media to drive innovation in their products and services, and for recruitment.

"The emerging markets seem to be quickly finding that social networks offer a relatively low-cost opportunity to leapfrog the competition in developed markets," KPMG Partner (Australia's Digital Economy Practice) Malcolm Alder said.

 "In some cases, inefficient, unreliable or monitored email systems are forsaken in preference of the faster and unfiltered, interactive social network channels. In others, a lack of alternatives may be driving businesses to adopt social networks within the enterprise," Alder added.

However, the executives should consider balancing the risks of engaging in social media against the opportunity cost of not participating, the report said. 

Sanjaya Krishna, a Partner with the Digital Economy Practice at KPMG in the US cautions: "Make no mistake, there are risks to being engaged and no one should enter the world of social media without having thought through the associated governance model."

The report also said that blocking access to social media at workplace could be counter-productive for the companies.

"Indeed, the survey shows that by restricting or blocking access, many employees tend to move their activity to their own personal devices which are often less secure and completely unmonitored," KPMG European head of Technology and a partner in the UK firm Tudor Aw said.

In response, the report said that more than half of organisations offer employees specific training on social media and 62 percent had developed a specific social media policy.

Job satisfaction and employee engagement are also impacted by access to social media.

The report found 63 per cent of employees at organisations with open policies on social media said they were satisfied in their job, compared with only 41 percent of those who had their access restricted.