The research found that only 14% of small businesses, 25% of medium-sized enterprises and 50% of larger operations have a presence on social media. These companies were spending less than 5% of total marketing budget promoting that presence, according to the report.
“In only a few short years, the rise of social media has created a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour. Australian businesses of all sizes need to be open to the opportunities and challenges of engaging with customers in this new environment,” said John Butterworth, CEO of AIMIA.
The Sensis Social Media Report reported a lower figure than that of Nielsen, which just released its own findings that showed one in five SMBs were on social media networks.
During the study, 1,9444 Australian businesses and 803 consumers were asked about their social media usage.
“We know Australians are taking up the social networking phenomenon. However, we wanted to understand how it is being used, so that businesses can make more informed decisions about how they should reach their customers,” said Simon Betschel, group manager for emerging business and innovation at Sensis.
“With so many people using social media, it’s clear there are huge opportunities for brands to connect with current and potential customers, but businesses need to be careful in how they interact with people via these sites,” he added.
According to the report, 12% of social networking users are using these sites to research products. Breaking down that traffic, 36% of these searches resulted in a purchase, 70% of which were made online.
The study also found that social media users are interested in what businesses can give them, with 56% looking for discounts, 45% wanting giveaways, 41% hoping for event invitations and 41% interested in product information.
“Although catching up with friends and family, sharing photos and coordinating social events continue to be the main reasons people use social media, there are increasingly more opportunities for brands and businesses to use this space. To succeed, they need to make sure that, above all, their communication is targeted and relevant,” said Betschel.
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