Retailers driving social media
Half of small and medium sized retailers are now using social media to drive business, up from just 32 per cent in 2013. The rise is the biggest leap of any sector.
It reflects the rising usage of social media by consumers, in particular in clothing, fashion, electrical goods, and items for the home.
Despite this, four in five small businesses are blindly investing in social media without a strategy or plan to track whether what they are doing is working.
Just 17 per cent of small firms formally measure the return on their social media investment, the 2014 Yellow Social Media Report says.
Only 24 per cent actually have a social media plan in place, and a third do not know how much they have invested.
Kelly Brough, chief digital officer, at Sensis, said retailers are taking advantage of social media, however, the research indicates many small and medium sized enterprises are missing opportunities to engage with customers and drive business growth because they have no presence on social media, or they are not planning appropriately if they do.
“Without a plan in place, and a way to track the success or otherwise of activity, their investment is at risk. The risk is also increasing as the proportion of marketing budgets spent on social media has increased in the past year,” said Brough.
“Meanwhile, social media is increasingly driving consumer habits.
“Significantly, small and medium businesses that have embraced social media are more likely to report better performance and see increased sales and profitability than those without a presence on social media.
“They are also more likely to be aiming to grow their business. In these circumstances, it is important that they plan appropriately and track the success of what they are doing.”
The report reveals a similar challenge is also faced by medium sized businesses, with only 28 per cent measuring return on investment. Less than half are acting with a strategy in place.
It highlights significant demographic shifts that are opening up new online opportunities for businesses.
Millions of older people are joining the social media revolution for the first time. Some 58 per cent of internet users aged 50 to 64 now use social media, up from 52 per cent in 2013.
In addition, almost one third of those online, aged 65 and over use social media, compared with 24 per cent last year.
Younger users are driving change through the adoption of new, more visual platforms including Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat, as previous favourites, Twitter and Facebook, become more mainstream.