It seems while Aussies are using social media more and more, only one in three SMEs have any sort of plan to take advantage of it, according to a recent survey.

The report, which surveyed 800 Australian consumers and 1100 Australian businesses, showed that almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day (and up to 79% for the 18-29 age group) yet only 31% of SMEs actively operate a social media engagement strategy.

According to the latest Sensis Social Media Report, many businesses using social media still lack knowledge and direction about how to use it and its effectiveness for the business:

  •  49% of SMEs and 45% of large businesses said they have invested money in social media but don’t know how much.
  • Only 16% of SMEs and 29% of large businesses measure their return on investment in social media.
  • 80% of SMEs and 37% of large businesses have not developed a strategic plan for their social media.

Judging by the amount of time their potential customers spend on social media, it’s a lost opportunity.

Which sites are we using?

  • Facebook continues to dominate as the most used site with 93% of social networkers maintaining a Facebook profile but usage appears to have fallen slightly since 2012. Nevertheless, it’s still extremely popular across all ages and locations.
  • The numbers: Facebook (93%), LinkedIn (28%), Instagram (26%), Google (23%), Twitter (17%), Pinterest (17%), Snapchat (15%).

How long are we online?

  • While the number of users active on social media had not changed over the last year, the time we spend on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram had increased.
  • Users spend the equivalent of a full working day each week (8.5 hours) on Facebook.

When are we online?

  • The most popular times to check in are first thing in the morning (45%) and just before bed (41%).
  • The number accessing social media at the beginning of the day has also risen this year (up from 43% to 45%).
  • Women remain more likely to use social media first thing in the morning, while men prefer to access it during or after work.
  • A majority of younger Australians (aged 18 to 29) like to check in when they wake up and before bed, while 30 to 39-year-olds like viewing later in the day.
  • For older age groups (40+), habits are mixed, however first thing in the morning is more popular than other times.

Where are we online?

  • The most common place is at home in the living room but the bedroom (especially for younger users) and study (for older users) is also popular.
  • Increase in social media activity away from the home in places such as at work (up from 21% to 32%), in transit and even at restaurants and cafes.
  • The numbers: Home (93%), work (32%), public transport (26%), restaurants, bars, parties (21%), car (19%), sporting events (16%), school or college (15%).

Do online reviews really matter?

  • Ratings and reviews play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction and retention, with 62% of people open to changing their opinion of a business if it responds to negative feedback on social media.

There’s no doubt that social media allows SMEs to reach existing and potential customers they would never get to. So using social media is not only a must for SMEs but they should invest some time and money in devising a plan to make the most of it.