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It seems small and medium businesses are still neglecting social media, with only 27% and 34% respectively having a presence on social networking sites.

These figures come from the Yellow Pages Report, which looked at the social media habits of nearly 2,000 Australian SMEs and puts forward a case for why Australian businesses need to invest more time and funding into their social media strategies.

 The report is an excellent read - and a quick overview of the SME landscape is below - but Salesforce recently pulled together a great infographic, which I've included towards the end of this article. 

The report (recap)

Time poor and inexperienced

According to the report, 62% of Australians use social media and almost 55% use Facebook, which is around 11.8 million people in total.

Of these 11.8 million people, the average person spends six hours per week reading statuses, looking at photos and communicating with their friends, families and brands. So why are our SMEs not taking advantage of this huge marketing opportunity?

Matt Thomson, co-founder of social media marketing firm Connect Social Media, said the answer to this is that small businesses are often too busy and time poor to capitalise on the potential of social media. 

It is clear that social media has enormous potential when it comes to marketing. The problem is, most small business owners are unsure and too busy to fully capitalise on social media’s potential.

The average small business owner is simply too busy running their business to focus on keeping up their Facebook page. And for the ones that do spend time on social media, they are often overwhelmed with where to start. 

This sentiment is backed up in the report by the answer to the question, ‘which department has overall responsibility for your social media presence?’.

Both large and medium sized businesses indicated that it was their marketing department that handles social media, but in 79% of small businesses social media is looked after by the owner/manager, who has much less time and experience. 

The current state 

The report found that social media presence among SMEs varied per sector, with businesses in the cultural, recreational and personal services areas much more likely to have a presence (58%) than those in building and construction businesses (10%).

Accommodation, cafes and restaurants ranked second in terms of industries using social media, with 47% usage, followed by retail trade and communication, property and business services, both having 30% usage.

 

But AIMIA's CEO, John Butterworth, says that among SMEs currently using social media, most aren’t actively driving traffic back to their sites. Instead they are focusing on establishing, maintaining and updating their social media presence

Social media plays a critical role in marketing and reputation management, one that is being underestimated by many brands and businesses. 

With social media now pervasive in our everyday lives, it is increasingly important for businesses to understand how consumers use it, to ensure that their increasing investments in this area help their business both in the online world, as well as the offline.

The infographic

 

Claire Brinkley

Published 17 January, 2013 by Claire Brinkley

Claire Brinkley is Econsultancy Australia's news and insight reporter. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ or connect with her on LinkedIn

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jack gill

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