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While more Australians are now accessing social media than ever before, a new report has revealed that small businesses still aren’t using it to its full extent.

The 2013 Yellow Social Media Report found that 65 percent of Australians on the internet are using social media, with two thirds accessing it via smartphones.

“We’re seeing major changes in the way Aussies are now using social media. The average consumer is now more likely to post a comment or tweet from a mobile device, and the number of people using tablets has almost doubled in the past 12 months,” says Kelly Brough, executive general manager of digital partnerships and innovation at Sensis.

“More Australian consumers are using social media to inform their purchasing decisions. This presents small and medium businesses with clear opportunities to build customer relationships and potential sales, however our research shows that businesses are not effectively engaging with these channels,” she says.

The report found that 29 percent of small businesses and 24 percent of medium-sized businesses don’t have a strategy in place to drive traffic to their social media accounts, with almost half the small businesses surveyed relying on social media share buttons on their website.

This is a reflection of the decrease in spending on social media over the past year, which has come hand in hand with the drop in overall marketing budgets.

This has, in turn, influenced what small businesses do on social media.

While discounts and giveaways were found to be the key reasons why consumers follow brands, only a third of SMBs on social media offer such incentives.

Just over half of the SMBs surveyed stated that they use social media for two-way communication with clients, contacts and consumers, and invite comments, ratings, and reviews on their social media sites.

The report also found that social media usage by SMBs in regional areas has grown, with both businesses and consumers in these areas more active on social media than their metropolitan counterparts.

Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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