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Social Media still doesn’t resonate with Australian small business

October 4, 2010

In the Australian Trade Media it was recently reported that more than half of small to medium sized businesses in Australia (SMBs) do not use Social Media and don’t intend to. My question is: why would everyone need to?

Let’s consider the numbers: as of June 2007, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figured out there were 2.01 million actively trading businesses in Australia. Of these, 93% (1.87 million) were classified as micro businesses, ie either sole traders or employing less than 4 people. Now consider a business you’re familiar with that has only this number of employees. It’s probably your electrician, or your accountant that works from home, right?

The truth is, a lot of registered businesses like these are either so small they don’t warrant a Social Media following, or they work in a market segment where it just doesn’t fit (yet) with their business strategy. I mean, who wants to see what their plumber / electrician has to say on Twitter right? I just want them to fix my leaking toilet, and that’s about the extent of my interest. Similarly with other micro businesses – say for example you have a financial planner who is a sole trader. They’ll share their advice with their clients, and chances are they’ll do a couple of things to try and bring in new clientele, but many of them already have a well established client base and don’t really want to grow their business.

It does come back again to the emotional connection that a consumer has to have with a brand in order to engage with it online. Maybe you do have a plumber that has so much character and so many interesting things to say that you actually do want to hook up to their Facebook / Twitter page…but probably not!

Apart from the cost factor, these are similar reasons why not every business advertises themselves on TV, radio and so on. It’s sometimes just a bit of overkill.

At the end of the day, businesses still need to make the same decisions about how they promote themselves and whether in fact they need online communities, or if the way they are doing things now still works.

Deliriant Isti Romani (These Romans are Crazy!)

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