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Three-quarters of Australian small businesses plan to spend more time on social media

Social media marketing has become the norm for many Australian businesses, with companies interacting with customers through Facebook and Twitter campaigns, and pinning images from their website to Pinterest to help drive traffic.

According to a small business survey conducted in February by Bibby Financial Services Australia, a "whopping" 78 per cent of small businesses in Australia are planning to spend more time on social media in the coming 12 months.

Of the businesses surveyed, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) report that social media has helped their business grow over the past year.

Almost half are said to be using social media to source new customers and raise brand awareness, with 44 per cent using it to provide networking opportunities, and 40 per cent to generate new sales.

Bibby Financial Services Australia's national sales director Gary Green said that social media is increasingly being used as an "extra communication channel"  to raise small business' profiles and reach new and existing clients.

"A third of the businesses surveyed said that social media has helped them improve customer service and stay ahead of competition and as many as 22 per cent have used social media to recruit new staff," Mr Green said.

A Yellow Pages Social Media Report from June 2012 revealed that Facebook was the most popular social networking site being used by Australian small businesses (83 per cent) followed by Twitter (27 per cent), LinkedIn (20 per cent) and Google Plus or YouTube (12 per cent).

On average, businesses were said to be spending over $3,000 a year on their social media presence.

"With optimism on the rise and confidence in sales growth at levels not seen since July 2011, it is not surprising that businesses are using social media to generate new business and raise their profile," Mr Green said.

"We believe small businesses are more willing to think outside the box in terms of promoting themselves and embark on new marketing strategies."

Posted by April Revake.