Australians of all ages are taking to social media and mobile applications at a rapid rate, yet just 20 per cent of small businesses have a social media presence, new data has revealed.
“The proportion of small businesses with a social networking presence is low when you consider how pervasive it has become amongst Australians,” said the author of the annual Sensis e-Business Report, Christena Singh.
The report found that 59 per cent of Australians now use social networking, with strong usage now seen in the 30-39 (82 per cent), 40-49 (47 per cent) and 50-64 (45 per cent) age groups.
Ms Singh said that searching the web using a mobile, connecting with friends through social media and purchasing over the internet had become part of everyday life for many Australians.
“A range of digital activities have hit mainstream levels in Australia, with strong usage now seen beyond the youth market.
“However, the report shows less than one in five Australian small businesses have a formal digital business strategy,” Ms Singh said.
The report found that just over half of businesses that use social media believe it has a positive impact on business, and that 25 per cent of businesses that have a social media presence monitor and update it every day.
Five per cent said they never provide updates.
“For most businesses, social media activity is carried out by internal resources, while just nine per cent outsource the activity,” the company said.
It added that small businesses have been particularly slow to take advantage of the rise in mobile web usage during the year, with only five per cent developing a mobile-specific site.
The report suggests there are a range of opportunities for small businesses to interact with customers in the mobile environment, with approximately half of Australians now using a mobile to access the internet.
The use of video and mobile applications has also become commonplace, with six in 10 mobile web users downloading a mobile app and four in 10 downloading video content.
“Interestingly, mobile web has transformed beyond a transit medium, with Australians now logging on at home (38 per cent) or at work (49 per cent), where they are also likely to have access to a computer,” Ms Singh said.
“But one of the most compelling reasons for small businesses to consider mobile activities is that 12 per cent of consumers purchasing online have made purchases using a mobile.
“It is interesting to note that small businesses are quick to purchase new technology, they are just not as quick to use this technology to market to consumers.”