Believe it or not, nearly three-quarters of Australian small and medium businesses (SMBs) remain blind to social media!
That is the breathtaking finding of a Telstra survey of 1,000 SMBs across the country. Somewhat ironically, the indifference to hugely Facebook, Twitter and the likes comes despite high faith (77%) in the Internet as a “most beneficial technology” for their business.
Worse, 12% of those surveyed believed social media actually dampened business successes!
So, why do smaller businesses simply fail to understand new market opportunities available from social media? The survey is mum on this, while only pointing out the lost opportunity.
“In a digital age where smartphones and tablets are used on a daily basis, we know customers expect a company to have a social media presence,” said Will Irving, Group Managing Director of Telstra Business.
Pointing out 62% of adults worldwide now use social media, Irving warned that SMBs ignoring this powerful tool were missing out on a significant business opportunity.
“Successful Australian businesses are having a two-way conversation with customers online, allowing them to connect and engage on a personal level, either by providing real time customer service or highlighting relevant new products,” he said.
Telstra cited the example of BikeExchange, winner of last year’s Telstra Australian Business of the Year, for social media impact. The site has crossed a monthly average of over one million visitors, exploiting the potential of social media.
“BikeExchange.com.au leverages a mix of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ that harness the passion and interest of the biking community to drive interest and growth through targeted onsite promotions,” Irving said.
Telstra, whose Yellow Pages service offers small businesses a range of tailored digital marketing options including online, mobile, social media and search engine marketing, also offered tips to SMBs to engage consumers. Here are some:
Be the real you. Stand for your values and be representative of your brand.
Be relevant. What would your customers want online?
Ask (and search) for feedback. Facebook and Twitter have new search tools that are a gold mine for insights into what you’re doing and how you can improve.
Join the conversation. It’s a two-way street. Joining the conversation is essential. Post stories and photos of your business.
Pick the right social places. Look beyond Facebook and Twitter to services such as Yelp, Foursquare and Instagram, depending on your business.