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New survey is telling us which gen is more social and which is more innovative – where you at, baby?

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Well, as you might have guessed, a whopping 78 per cent of Australian businesses are planning to invest more time and money on social media in the coming year.

That’s right! Upwards of 65 per cent of businesses surveyed recently report that social media has helped their business grow in recent times.

Around half are using social media to raise brand awareness and attract new customers. Meanwhile, 40 per cent are using social to generate new sales and, 44 per cent are using such platforms to provide networking opportunities, effectively contributing to business growth.

A word from Bibby, baby

Gary Green, National Sales Director, Bibby Financial Services Australia says “Social media is increasingly being used as an extra communication channel to raise small business’ profiles 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 and as many as 22 per cent have used social media to recruit new staff.”

According to the Yellow Pages Social Media Report, June 2012, 83 per cent of Aussie small businesses are using Facebook; 27 per cent use Twitter; 20 per cent use LinkedIn, and approximately 12 per cent are using Google Plus or YouTube. Overall, on average businesses are spending over $3,000 a year on their social media presence.

A game of risk

The Bibby Barometer also shows that the current business climate is encouraging 38 per cent of business decision-makers to take more risks going forward. In contrast, only 24-per cent are taking fewer risks.

“With optimism on the rise and confidence in sales growth at levels not seen since July 2011, it is not surprising that businesses are using social media to generate new business and raise their profile. We believe small businesses are more willing to think outside the box in terms of promoting themselves and embark on new marketing strategies,” Mr Green says.

Of the businesses surveyed, unsurprisingly, those most likely to use social media are young entrepreneurs aged between 18-39 years (66 per cent) compared to older entrepreneurs aged 40-64 years (39 per cent).

The generation gap

The survey also found that Generation X are highly regarded as efficient workers and the most innovative contributors. Baby Boomers are not only considered to be the most customer service orientated, but also are the most likely to be skeptical of digital media. Don’t you just love it when data confirms all of our assumptions?

Generation Y are viewed less positively. Only 10 per cent of respondents consider them to be the most efficient workers, 12 per cent see them as good managers, and 15 per cent say Gen Yers are the most customer service oriented. While 18 per cent rate Gen Y the most innovative contributors, even on this measure they still trail Baby Boomers (24 per cent) and Gen X (36-per cent). Hmm, anyone else think those surveyed see Gen Y as whippersnappers? Bias much? Maybe a little.

From those surveyed, business decision-makers favoured employees of the same age, rating staff of their own respective generation higher than those of other generations. Ah, our suspicions of bias are confirmed, indeed.

The Bibby Barometer is conducted bi-annually, surveying over 200 small businesses (non-retail) having between five and nineteen employees.

(Image source: Bigstock)

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