SMEs searching for social skills, but LinkedIn’s the platform of choice

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Woman using a mobile and computer

Small and medium businesses are hungry for more information about how to use social media to grow their businesses, with many admitting they’ve so far only mastered the basics of using social platforms.

Close to 50% of SMEs surveyed in SmartCompany’s 2016 Technology Survey nominated social media as one the key areas they want to know more about, along with cloud computing and data analytics.

And these businesses appear willing to put their money with their mouth is, with 49% of survey respondents nominating social media strategy as one of the top three core competencies they will consider upskilling themselves or their staff in during 2017.

The survey, which is sponsored by Adobe, asked more than 500 Australian businesses how they use social media and what platforms they devote their resources too.

Read more: SmartCompany Tech Survey reveals cloud computing has come of age, but websites are a challenge for SMEs

LinkedIn came out on top as the most used social media platform, with 72% of survey respondents making use of the professional networking platform.

Facebook was not far behind, with 69% of respondents using Facebook for their business, followed by 49% who use Twitter.

Thirty percent of respondents use Instagram for their business, while 24.5% find Google+ useful.

Snapchat, one of the newer kids on the social media block, is being used by 5% of the businesses surveyed.

But while there is no shortage of advice for small businesses looking to integrate social media into their operations, just 17% of survey respondents consider their use of social media to be “advanced”.

Forty-four percent of respondents described their social media expertise as “intermediate”, which means they do more than simply share posts on Facebook, for example.

However, 37% of respondents see themselves as “beginners” who only do the basics when it comes to social media, which suggests these businesses have an opportunity to pick up social skills to help them attract even more customers.

Multiple respondents said if there was one piece of technology that would dramatically improve their business it would be a tool to schedule and manage social media posts.

For the full survey results, download the free 2016 Technology Survey ebook, available now.

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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