A small business survey conducted by Bibby Financial Services - Flexible Cash Flow Solutions early this year reveals that a whopping 78% of small businesses in Australia are planning to spend more time on social media in the coming 12 months.
The Bibby Barometer survey reports that 65% of businesses surveyed say social media has helped their business grow over the past 12 months. While almost half are using social media to raise brand awareness and source new customers, 40% are using it to generate new sales and 44% to provide networking opportunities, effectively contributing to business growth.
Gary Green, National Sales Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia explains that social media is increasingly being used as an extra communication channel to raise business profile and reach new and existing clients. A third of the businesses surveyed said that social media has helped them improve customer service and stay ahead of competition while as many as 22% have used social media to recruit new staff.
The Yellow Pages Social Media Report, June 2012 reveals that 83% of Australian small businesses are using Facebook, 27% Twitter, 20% LinkedIn and approximately 12%, Google Plus or YouTube. Overall, on average businesses are spending over $3,000 a year on their social media presence.
The Bibby Barometer found that the current business climate has encouraged 38% of business decision makers to want to take more risks in the coming 12 months. In contrast, only 24% are taking fewer risks.
Mr Green attributes the increasing use of social media for business generation to the rising optimism and confidence in sales growth at levels not seen since July 2011. He adds that small businesses are more willing to think outside the box in terms of promoting themselves and embark on new marketing strategies.
Highlights of the Bibby Barometer survey:
- Young entrepreneurs aged between 18-39 years (66%) compared to older entrepreneurs aged 40-64 years (39%) are most likely to use social media
- Generation X arehighly regarded as efficient workers and the most innovative contributors
- Baby Boomers are considered to be the most customer service orientated but most likely to be sceptical of digital media
- Generation Y viewed less positively withonly 10% considering them to be the most efficient workers, 12% as good managers and 15% as the most customer service oriented
- 18% rate Gen Y the most innovative contributors behind Baby Boomers (24%) and Gen X (36%)
- Business decision makers favoured employees of the same age, rating staff of their own generation higher than those of a different generation