Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Social Media Marketing Increases Business for Australian SME Companies

Social Media at a Glance

Social media is defined as “the use of internet-based social media programs to make connections with friends, family, classmates, customers and clients.” It is commonly used to connect people for whatever purpose they need. Several social media sites have recently gained widespread popularity like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.

Australians and Social Media Usage

According to the Yellow Pages Social Media Report, Australians aged 14 to 49 have access to the internet. Of the respondents, 44% reveal that they frequently use the internet more than five times a day while 14% said that they never access the internet. 45% of internet users access social media every day, especially those under the age of 40. In terms of using social media within the day, the most popular times that users check their accounts is right after work, around 6:30 in the evening. Users also tend to access their social media accounts before going to bed and after waking up.

Still at the top of the list for Social Media sites is Facebook, garnering 95%. Next in line is LinkedIn, closely followed by Instagram, Twitter, and Google+.

Business and Social Media
Social media has become a great business tool for reaching the consumers. Aside from being cost-effective, communicating with consumers on social media is more efficient than writing to them one by one. 20% of respondents indicate that they use social media to research on products or services. The top searches include fashion and electrical goods, followed by computers, cosmetics and fragrance, and music. This outcome is predictable since most users of social media are females. The use of mobile phones for researching and accessing social media increased over the years. Most of the searches made for products or services online led to actual purchases (58%). 35% of users follow brands or products and most of these followers are composed of teens aged 14 to 19.

Australia’s SME Social Media Presence

In terms of business sizes, 79% of Australia’s large-scale businesses have Social Media presence compared to the Social Media use of medium-sized (47%) and small-scale (30%) businesses. This is projected to increase in the coming years. SMEs disclosed that the social media they use the most is Skype or VOIP, used in making important business calls.

Most of the industries that have strong social media presence include Personal Services, Accommodations, and Restaurants. Although a lot of consumers look to social media for giveaways and discounts, it is the least of the SME’s priorities.

Social media accounts of small businesses are usually handled and maintained by the owner. In medium businesses, this task is delegated to the marketing department. The report also indicates that small businesses tend to lean on “specialist social media agencies” while medium-sized businesses are most likely to use a communications/PR firm.

Businesses have different methods in evaluating the success of their social media investments. 25% of small businesses measure ROI by asking customers how they found out about the company while 69% of large companies measure their social media through the number of likes or followers of their social media sites.

A further survey for SMEs revealed that compared to SMEs without social media presence, those who invested in social media activities grew their businesses. SMEs with social media presence reported increase in sales (36% vs 27%), profitability (33% vs 20%) and employment (14% vs 8%).

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