Organisations Missing Out on Connecting Via Social Media
30 May 2012 at 11:25 am
Organisations and businesses need to understand more about how and when to connect with their followers via social media, according to the Yellow Pages Social Media Report 2012.
The report says organisations, Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) and marketers need to respect how people view and value their social media interactions as well as how to measure the return on their investment in social media.
The top reasons people use social media remain to catch up with friends and family, to share photos or videos, and to coordinate social events. However, approximately one in five are also using social media for commercial purposes to follow their favourite brands, access special offers and make purchases.
Yellow Pages, in conjunction with the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA), surveyed 1,951 Australian businesses including organisations in the health and community services and cultural, recreational and personal services sectors to understand how they are using social media.
The 2012 Yellow Social Media Report found that 27 per cent of small businesses (up from 14 per cent in 2011) and 34 per cent of medium businesses (up from 25 per cent in 2011) are harnessing the power of social media.
Investment in social media has also increased, with small businesses spending on average $3,410 and medium businesses $16,920 annually, up from $2,050 and $6,500 respectively a year ago.
Despite these increases, the study found that many SMBs are not actively measuring the return on investment (ROI) for this activity – with only 28 per cent of small and 24 per cent of medium businesses determining the ROI on their social media programs.
A quarter of small businesses admitted to not having any strategy in place to drive traffic to their social media sites, with the most popular method (23 per cent) cited by small businesses being a rudimentary link to social media from the business’ website.
The report went on to find that many SMBs are failing to provide the sort of information consumers look for when they use social media. Consumers most commonly seek out giveaways and discounts from businesses and brands on social media, but only 34 per cent of small and 27 per cent of medium businesses offer these incentives to consumers on their social media sites.
The most common use of social media is to invite online comments, ratings or reviews – small business (55 per cent) and medium business (56 per cent).
Among Internet users, the Report says some 62 per cent use social networking sites such as Facebook,Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Some 36 per cent use social networking at least every day, with one in ten using it more than five times a day.
Commenting on the report, Group Manager for Emerging Business & Innovation at Sensis, Simon Betschel, said that “with social media now pervasive in our everyday lives, we wanted to understand how it is being used on a deeper level, to empower small and medium business owners to make more informed decisions about how to use these channels to engage with consumers.”
“It’s clear there are huge opportunities for brands to connect with both current and potential customers, but businesses must be tactical in their use of these channels to ensure that their investment in this area contributes to their business both in the online world, as well as offline,” he added.
The report says that despite the lack of current strategic direction behind many SMBs social media presence, they are continuing to invest in social media. A sizeable proportion of businesses and organisations with a social media presence expect to spend more on social media in the coming year, with 88 per cent of small businesses and 86 per cent of medium businesses set to invest the same or larger budgets in 2013.
The research also showed that most businesses also expect that their social media investment will contribute to revenue growth over the next 12 months, with 72 per cent of small and 67 per cent of medium businesses believing social media will play a key role in increasing sales.
“The research indicates businesses are focused on establishing, maintaining and updating their social media presence rather than driving people to it. Social media plays a critical role in marketing and reputation management, one that is being underestimated by many brands and businesses,” Betschel said.
Key findings include:
- 27 per cent of small, 34 per cent of medium and 79 per cent of large businesses have a social media presence
- 22 per cent of small businesses update their social media every day, while 28 per cent of them do it once a week
- 39 per cent of medium businesses update their social media every day
- 83 per cent of small businesses on social media have a Facebook page
- 27 per cent of small businesses on social media have a Twitter account
- 79 per cent of medium businesses on social media have a Facebook page
- 33 per cent of medium businesses on social media have a Twitter account