Canadian businesses of all kinds are currently using social media, however, social media use is most prevalent within large, youthful organizations (78 per cent). It is the least common within organizations that are led by older Canadians over the age of 50, with 54 per cent not using social media, according to a recent survey of 255 employers by UPS Canada.
More than one-half (55 per cent) of business leaders use social media for business purposes. Social networks such as Facebook and Google+ (82 per cent) are the preferred destination for business-related pages, while sites such as Twitter (48 per cent) and YouTube (47 per cent) are also used by members of the business community.
"Social media represents a powerful and cost-effective tool that, when used properly, can help any business grow," said Paul Gaspar, UPS Canada director of small business. "Canadian businesses are operating in an increasingly competitive global market and by using social media, firms can broaden their existing brand equity while building real relationships with current and potential clients."
The majority of business leaders (62 per cent) who have chosen to engage with social media for business purposes said their efforts have been met with success.
Very few (11 per cent) are dissatisfied with the results they have achieved, although one-third are unsure of the extent of their success. When asked to identify their top three social media objectives, business leaders typically say that they aim to:
•gauge market interest in a particular product or service that they are offering
•conduct more general forms of market research
•strive to reach out to peers and develop knowledge-sharing networks within their respective industries.
Despite acknowledging the persuasive power of social media and growth potential it offers, most organizations still dedicate few resources to building an online presence. More than one-half (54 per cent) spend less than two per cent of their budget on social media while nearly one-half spend less than five hours per week on their online profile.
Time constraints and a lack of technical know-how are the two most noteworthy obstacles business leaders face when integrating a social media strategy into their business plan. A lack of knowledge of social media is particularly prohibitive for those business leaders over the age of 50 as 36 per cent highlighted this to be the greatest barrier they face.
One-quarter of business owners said the greatest obstacle preventing them from implementing a social media strategy is that the medium simply does not fit well with their business or industry. Only one in 10 said a lack of human resources as the most significant barrier to adapting social media to promote and grow their business.
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