Social media is dynamic and the way businesses can use it is changing so quickly it’s often hard to keep up.
So should companies, particularly smaller ones with limited resources, be investing in social media to promote their business?
A survey by Grant Thornton was released on Thursday pointing out that: less than half of Australia’s privately held businesses engage in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
This is well behind emerging markets such as Latin America, where more than three quarters of businesses plan to increase the use of social media.
The Wilkinson Group experience is relevant here. We have a growing list of social media accounts, only one of which has ‘paused’. This indicates to us that once businesses take the plunge and start a campaign, most stick with it. Our experience is that for businesses, making the decision to start is the hardest.
Commenting of their survey, Grant Thornton Australia partner Bill Shew says businesses are aware of the importance of social media and acknowledge that it’s a medium that will constantly connect them to potential markets.
“The real question for Australian privately held business is where they fit in the market and what resources are required for social media to make an impact on the business’ bottom line,” Mr Shew said releasing the survey’s findings.
Of those businesses who use social media out of the 75 firms polled, just under a third use it for advertising, 18.8 per cent to connect directly with customers and 17.4 per cent for recruitment.
The Wilkinson experience is slightly different: first, all businesses want to connect with their customers; second, pursuing social media for advertising is hazardous – so beware – because most customers who use social media don’t want to be force fed; they just want the facts.
Our experience is that social media is best used to listen and engage in a two way relationship with customers and this hopefully develops to a ‘brand loyalty’.