Edmonton—Social media usage among businesses in Alberta is growing, but the majority of companies in this province still aren’t convinced it’s worth the effort.
According to the latest ATB Business Beat survey, more than half (53 per cent) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) do not use social media. “What we’re hearing from those who don’t use social media is that they’re busy enough already or that word of mouth is working for them, and others just don’t see how it’s relevant to their business,” said Teresa Clouston, executive vice-president, ATB Business & Agriculture.
“But while it’s still a majority, it is shrinking,” Clouston said. “More businesses are seeing the value of engaging with their customers, whether through advertising or promotions or just sharing the latest information.”
Here’s what ATB heard:
In 2013, when ATB last surveyed business owners on the topic, 35 per cent of SMEs said they used social media. That has now grown to 47 per cent.
The degree of social media’s popularity among businesses that do use it varies widely by sector and age and growth stage of the company. In retail, 71 per cent of businesses now use social media, whereas those in more typical business-to-business industries use it less–energy/oil & gas (33 per cent), construction (29 per cent), and manufacturing (25 per cent).
“We heard that businesses that are starting out or growing and expanding do see the value and are engaging in social media,” said Clouston. “It’s popular with younger entrepreneurs. We expect the number to keep growing.”
Here’s the story:
Of the businesses in operation for less than six years, 72 per cent are using social media. Of those owners or representatives between 18 and 34 years of age, 69 per cent are using social media for their business. And of those businesses in the start-up phase of operations or in the initial growth period, 64 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, use social media.
Interestingly, the main reasons for using social media have changed over the four years since ATB last asked the question. In 2013, 12 per cent of SMEs using social media did so primarily for advertising and promotion. Engaging in conversations with customers has grown from 7 per cent to 15 per cent. Informing customers has fallen from 29 per cent to 15 per cent.
The ATB Business Beat survey is conducted four times a year to listen to the views of small and mid-sized Alberta-based business.
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