Spend on tech
While small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are turning to social media to help grow their brands, many are reluctant to invest in technology generally, according to the latest SME survey from small business finance specialist Bibby Financial Services.
Conducted by CoreData in February, the Bibby Financial Services Small Business Barometer revealed Facebook is the most popular social media tool for SMEs – with more than two in five respondents (43%) using it for their business. Other common social media channels include LinkedIn (23%), Twitter (19%) and Google+ (16%).
Moreover, 22% of SMEs expect sales growth to come from social media, highlighting its potential to boost revenues.
The survey also revealed close to two in five (38%) small businesses believe websites are the most valuable type of technology. Other technology mediums seen as advantageous include social media (35%), high-speed broadband (31%) and smart phones (31%).
However, despite the perceived benefits of technology, the majority of SMEs do not currently have plans for increasing their technology investment. Fewer than one in three respondents (31%) expect to increase or significantly increase their investment on technology in the next year. A small proportion (5%) intend to reduce their technology spend while a further 12% are unsure.
Mark Cleaver, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, said: “Technology can equalise the playing field between big and small business. Whether this involves spending more on faster computers, social media or on software that makes a business’ operations more efficient, technology investment is crucial for keeping up with competitors and the needs of customers.
“Despite this, our survey revealed three in 10 SMEs (29%) don’t believe that technology will offer any advantage over bigger businesses. Moreover, two in five SMEs (40%) don’t currently use mainstream social media tools to promote their business.
“SMEs need to use all the tools that they have available to build their businesses and brands in a highly competitive landscape. Social media is an effective and low-cost marketing tool that can help SMEs keep up with the efforts of bigger businesses,” Mr Cleaver said.