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ACCC to engage with small business through social media

Social media will now play an important role in the communication strategy of one of the government's most important business-facing bodies.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is looking to change the way that small to medium-enterprises (SMEs) can interact with the department.

Comments from ACCC chairman Rodd Sims made it clear that the government body understood some of the difficulties faced by SMEs in effectively communicating with the organisation, stating: "We may not always have been clever in dealing with small business."

To remedy this, the consumer watchdog is considering several changes to its online offerings, which could pave the way for increased interactions with its audiences.

Sims asserted: "We are … considering developing a small business Facebook page, as well as Twitter accounts and phone or iPad applications so you can access relevant information when and how it suits you."

Other considerations by the ACCC include the revision of language and tone used by existing publications – making them more readable for "mums-and dads businesses that have neither the time nor the inclination to delve through dense publications".

This comes off the back of recent developments that have seen the establishment of federal commissioners that will administer to the mediation requirements of small to medium-businesses.

Sims said that this would help to remedy a common misconception amongst the heads of many businesses, stating: "You will understand the ACCC is not a dispute resolution service.

"This is commonly where there is a disconnect between the expectations of small business and the mandated role of the ACCC."

Many companies that have come to embrace the opportunities of online content – such as using staff profiles and company blogs to engage with their clients – may find that the government body's new communication channels fits right in with their current business model.