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SMB use of social media on the up

The use of social media by Australian small businesses has risen by 50 percent this year, with many looking to boost the investment in their website, technology and marketing.

The Melbourne IT eBiz Review found that small businesses were looking to the web for growth in the coming year, with SMB eBusiness Solutions Executive General Manager Damon Fieldgate noting a rise in the number of internet-savvy businesses.

“The innovation and apparent confidence we are seeing from Australia’s internet savvy small business sector is encouraging. It’s our view that the internet is becoming the primary route to market for many businesses and small companies appear to be embracing new technologies and online initiatives to not only survive, but thrive.”

The study revealed that whilst 89 percent of small businesses using social media have a Facebook page, 76 percent said the company website was the preferred customer destination.

“Social media can be a fabulous business tool… and those e-small businesses who ignore it are missing an opportunity to engage with potential new customers. However as the results show, speculation of the ‘death’ of the company website in favour of Facebook is exaggerated,” Fieldgate said.

Despite the challenging environment,  50 percent of small businesses are now using social media platforms as part of their customer-facing operations, compared to only 34 percent last year.

While the respondents who stated they did not use social media had decreased this year, the reasons for not adopting the platform remained the same as the previous year. 37 percent were still not convinced of its benefits, and 36 percent said they did not have the time to maintain it.

“(The study) results suggest e-small businesses are instead using social media as a supplement to their business models rather than making them the focal point, which is in turn helping them broaden their scope, customer base and revenue opportunities,” Fieldgate added.