Is it any surprise that social media has become one of the most important ways for small businesses to engage with customers? The Future of Small-Medium Business Summit revealed new figures that show only 39 per cent of small businesses use social media as part of their business activities.
Although the Sensis e-business survey found the figure rose only 3 percent, it also revealed the budget for social media activities more than doubled from $800 to $1900.
Red Balloon chief executive Kristie Buchanan said social media had been a fantastic opportunity for the online retailer.
“It gives the brand a personality, and a sense of credibility, particularly if you are a small business. So if you go to the RedBalloon Facebook page, you should smile and feel a little bit happy and then we have done out job.
The Sensis e-business report found 91 per cent of small businesses that had a social media presence were on Facebook, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn, with a 27 per cent penetration rate.
So how important is a social media presence? The fact of the matter is the future of small business will be based online. The days of having a corner shop, or a boutique promoted by word of mouth will be no more. Social media interaction gives a brand credibility, but it also allows a brand to interact with its stakeholders and customers. They can find out directly what customers want to see.
An example of this is Jane Cay who runs an apparel website called Birdsnest
Ms Cay said that the company uses Facebook to have a lot of conversation. Saying things such as “Because we’ve been wondering what to do with our packaging. Do we have too much packaging?”. The question received hundreds of responses and Ms Cay was able to conduct comprehensive market research simple with a Facebook post, free of charge.
So why is only 39 per cent of small businesses using social media? Well it might all come down to age. Many small business owners are baby boomers, and for some, the internet and social media can be quite a scary monster. But it shouldn’t be! If business owners can get a grip on social media the possibilities are endless.