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SMBs are continuing to up their level of investment in social media, but many are failing to measure the return on this investment, according to new research.

Small businesses are spending an average of $3410 on their social media activities, up from $2050 last year, and 13 percent more small businesses are using social media than last year. Despite these climbing numbers, many businesses are still not measuring the return on investment (ROI), says a report by Yellow Pages and the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA).

The research also found businesses are failing to provide consumers with sufficient information on their social media accounts. While consumers most commonly seek out giveaways and discounts via social media, just 34 percent of SMBs are offering these incentives, with the report finding the most common business use of social media (55 percent) is to invite online comments, ratings or reviews.

Sensis group manager of emerging business and innovation Simon Betschel believes social media provides a vast amount of opportunities for SMBs, but businesses need to properly engage with consumers.

“It is 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 businesses both in the online world, as well as offline”.

Betschel believes businesses are more focused on establishing and maintaining their social media presence rather than driving people to it; a suspicion backed up by the survey, which also found a quarter of businesses don’t have a strategy in place to drive traffic to their social media accounts, with the most popular method simply the placement of a link from a business website.

“There is a clear opportunity to build consumer relationships and sales through social media, however businesses need to understand more about how to connect with their followers. SMBs and marketers need to respect how people view and value their social media interactions,” he said.

Given the challenging nature of social media, Betschel offered up two tips to Dynamic Business for improving social media management. The first, is to have a clear strategy of the business’ objectives and the second, is to ensure content is updated regularly.

“The most important thing is to have good quality and relevant content, content is what makes the difference on whether people will use your site, or find your site on Google,” he said.

To further support SMBs in managing their social media presence and to achieve their goals, Sensis has launched an initiative called ‘Social Solution‘.

“We understand that SMBs owners are experts at running their business, but often they don’t have the time, know-how or budget to create a complex social media strategy. ‘Social Solution’ offers support to SMBs to develop a targeted strategy to complement their overall digital approach and marketing mix,” Betschel added.

For more information, click here.