More businesses turning to social media marketing: report
There has been a marked interest in the number of small to medium businesses (SMB) that are using social media sites, the 2012 Yellow Social Media Report shows.
Yellow Pages and the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association surveyed over 1,900 SMBs about their social media habits and found that investment in this area had increased.
In 2011 only 14 per cent of small businesses used social networks, compared to 27 per cent in 2012. As for medium enterprises, the usage has increased by nine per cent during the same time period.
This suggests that SMBs are becoming aware of the lucrative online market – in last year's Sensis Social Media Report, 60 per cent of Australian internet users were on Facebook and the average user spent more than five hours a week on the site.
However, although businesses are getting on board, many do not have a social media marketing strategy in place – or understand how to use their online presence effectively.
Simon Betschel, the Group Manager of Emerging Business & Innovation at Sensis, said that while more SMBs were creating these social profiles, they were not always using them to their best advantage.
"The research indicates businesses are focused on establishing, maintaining and updating their social media presence rather than driving people to it," he explained.
"Social media plays a critical role in marketing and reputation management, one that is being underestimated by many brands and businesses."
It seems that SMBs need to gain a better understanding of how their consumers use social media sites. The report suggests that most users seek out discounts and giveaways – in other words, incentives to encourage them to connect and get involved with a company online.
With an effective and relevant social media strategy in place, businesses may start to see more benefits from their online presence.
"It is clear that there are huge opportunities for brands to connect with both current and potential customers, but businesses must be tactical in their use of these channels to ensure that their investment in this area contributes to their business both in the online world, as well as offline," Mr Betschel said.
Posted by Jess O'Connor