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Is social media all it's tweeted up to be?

|Nov 28|magazine7 min read

Privately held Australian businesses are still hesitant about social media in case it proves to be more of a Fail Whale than a money maker.

These businesses are aware of potential benefits from using social media, such as connecting with customers, but the cost of financing an activity has them debating if tweets and updates give enough bang for their buck.  

Business consultant Grant Thornton conducted a study that showed less than half of Australia’s privately held businesses use social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Seventy-five firms were polled during this study.

Social media is considered a medium that will constantly connect businesses to potential markets, which adds to businesses’ awareness of its importance, said Bill Shew, Thornton’s Australia partner.



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“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," Shew said.

Slightly less than one-third of businesses that do utilize social media use it for advertising, 18.8 per cent to connect directly with customers, and 17.4 per cent for recruitment.

Most privately held businesses do not have the necessary resources to maintain a presence in social media, Shew said.

Despite this, the retail industry has showed significant uses of social media with the help from popular mobile apps to increase store foot traffic.

"Certain business-to-business industries are using social media to engage with markets such as printing and technology but, for the most part, retail businesses in Australia seem to be taking the lead in using social media to entice and enhance customer relationships," Shew said.