SMEs shirk social media, miss viable consumers

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015

Only a third of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) actively use social media to engage consumers, a survey has found.

Sensis, in its Social Media Report for May 2015, found businesses are not adequately targeting a growing market of consumers who use Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram daily.

It found almost 50% of consumers — and 79% of consumers aged 18-29 — log in to a social media platform every day.

“It is apparent businesses must quickly adapt their presence online to establish and nurture new communities and connect with them in authentic ways,” the report said.

Sensis said businesses should factor ratings and reviews into any social media engagement strategies they implement, with 62% of surveyed consumers expressing willingness to change their opinion of a business if it responds to negative interactions on social media.

It said blogs and reviews continue to influence buying decisions in over 55% of respondents, but only 32% actively follow business updates.

“The uptake of social media by Australian businesses is still not as pronounced as for consumers,” the report said, adding that “33% of businesses have a social media presence compared with 68% of consumers, which means more than twice as many consumers appear to be engaged with social media than businesses.”

“This survey indicates no growth in the proportion of businesses who use social media relative to last year.”

Around 90% of SMEs manage their social media profiles internally, and most often the business owner creates and posts content.

“Businesses using social media should have a strategy and invest the necessary time, money and resources implementing it and measuring its effectiveness to maximise the benefits for them and their stakeholders.”