Going social

New research finds Social Media Manager is now a small to medium business job description

Going social
Going social

August 16, 2013

The job ‘Social Media Manager’ is a now a job description for one in five small to medium business enterprises (SMEs) across Australia according to MYOB research.

According to the research, SMEs embracing social media were much more likely to see a revenue rise than a fall in the year to February 2013.

This contrasts starkly with the overall trend where SMEs were more than twice as likely to see revenue fall than rise.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor revealed SMEs using social media were 56 per cent more likely to see a revenue rise, with 28 per cent reporting a rise in revenue and 18 per cent reporting a fall. This is compared to the national average of all businesses with 18 per cent rise and 39 per cent fall in revenue respectively.

The research also found a rise in social media usage in the previous nine months, where 20 per cent of SMEs used it for business purposes, up on 16 per cent. This was highest amongst Gen Y (30 per cent), followed by Gen X (22 per cent) and Baby Boomers (18 per cent), than those aged 65+ years (9 per cent). The latter was the only generation to decrease its usage.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says one in five business owners now wear an additional hat – social media manager.

"Those who embrace that role are reaping rewards beyond building closer relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and others. The financial benefits are clear," Reed says.

"Many of these social tools, like Facebook or a blog, don’t need an investment of money to raise a business’s profile, communicate with its target audiences and generate leads – although they do require time.

"Despite this, only one-fifth use social channels. This compares to nearly half of all business owners using smartphones and over one quarter using tablet devices.

"Our research suggests it’s due to a lack of confidence in knowing how to employ social and other online tools that is holding others back."

With a Federal election looming, Reed says more than half of the survey’s respondents say they would vote for the political party that proposed providing free government-funded training to all small businesses on how to use the internet to enhance and grow their business.

Reed says it was good to see some money put aside in May’s Federal budget for this purpose.

Across the mainland states, South Australia had the highest proportion of SME social media users (26 per cent) followed by Queensland (23 per cent), Western Australia (22 per cent), Victoria (18 per cent) and NSW (17 per cent).

Smartphones and tablets

Nearly half the SMEs surveyed used one or more smartphones for business (46 per cent), while 26 per cent used one or more tablet devices such as an iPad. Start-ups led the more established businesses in both respects with 55 per cent of new companies using a smartphone and 32 per cent using tablets.

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