Socially savvy SMBs enjoying improved customer relationships

Social Media Graphic - stick figures with speech bubbles over their heads

Over 70 percent of small business owners who’ve embraced social media believe it has been a success and led to better customer relationships, according to a new survey.

Social media savvy businesses are using their online presence to build relationships with customers, generate leads  and market their products and services, according to a nationwide survey conducted by American Express.

The survey revealed one-fifth of small business owners expect to spend more time and money on their social media presence over the next 12 months, while almost forty percent of existing users are likely to increase their investment in the digital marketing platform.

Despite these promising figures, close to seven in 10 SMB owners still hold concerns regarding privacy as well as the time and resources investment required to create and maintain their social media presence.

In contrast to this belief however, the study found that using social media sites is neither time consuming or expensive, with the majority of users spending three hours or less per week on the sites. Furthermore, the average cost of building a social media presence is just $550.

American Express director of marketing and customer engagement Amelia Zaina said: “While there’s a degree of apprehension surrounding the use of social media for business, two-fifths of small business owners are making use of it and are reaping the benefits of their investment.”

“With careful planning and by identifying the most effective use of social media for their business, it can deliver great returns,” she added.

More than half of those using social media have yet to receive any negative comments and of those who have, one-in-five complaints have been resolved politely on the public forum or, as was the case for 15 percent of users, in private, offline.

To coincide with the release of the survey American Express has launched its ‘Take Off’ social media makeover competition.

The competition, hosted on the Amex for Business Australia Facebook page (see below for link), will offer small business owners the opportunity to win a digital and social media makeover with experts from LinkedIn, Facebook, Ogilvy, Momentum Worldwide and others, plus $10,000 to spend on their business.

To enter, small business owners simply have to visit the Amex for Business Australia Facebook page and provide a short overview of how their business would benefit from a digital and social media makeover.

Entries close 28May 2012, when a panel of judges will select five finalists and the winner announced on 28 June.

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