A whopping 78 percent of small businesses in Australia are planning to spend more time on social media in the coming 12 months, according to a recent small business survey.
Of those businesses surveyed, as many as 65 percent report that social media has helped their business grow over the past 12 months.
Almost half are using social media to raise brand awareness and source new customers, while 40 percent are using it to generate new sales.
And 44 percent use social media to provide networking opportunities, which effectively contributes to business growth.
The survey, conducted by Bibby Financial Services Australia, found 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,” said Gary Green, Bibby’s National Sales Director.
According to the Yellow Pages Social Media Report, June 2012, 83 percent of Australian small business are using Facebook, 27 percent Twitter, 20 percent are on LinkedIn and about 12 percent are using Google Plus or YouTube.
Overall, on average businesses are spending over $3000 a year on their social media presence.
The Bibby Barometer found that the current business climate has encouraged 38 percent of business decision makers to want to take more risks in the coming 12 months. In contrast, only 24 percent are taking fewer risks.
“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. We believe small businesses are more willing to think outside the box in terms of promoting themselves and embark on new marketing strategies,” Mr Green said
Of the businesses survey, those most likely to use social media are young entrepreneurs aged between 18-39 years (66 percent) compared to older entrepreneurs aged 40-64 years (39 percent).
The survey found that Generation X are highly regarded as efficient workers and the most innovative contributors, and that Baby Boomers are considered to be the most customer service orientated but the most likely to be sceptical of digital media.
Generation Y are viewed less positively. Only 10 percent consider them to be the most efficient workers, 12 percent as good managers and 15 percent as the most customer service oriented. While 18 percent rate Gen Y the most innovative contributors, even on this measure they still trail Baby Boomers (24 percent) and Gen X (36 percent).
The Bibby Barometer is conducted bi-annually, surveying over 200 small business (non-retail) having between five and 19 employees.