Female business owners are 6% more likely than their male counterparts to use at least one form of social media in their business, according to a new study released by American Express.
The study, undertaken by Galaxy Research on behalf of American Express, comprises 1,031 Australian small businesses, each generating an annual turnover of no more than $2 million.
According to the research, 43% of female small business owners use at least one form of social media in their business, compared to 37% of male small business owners.
Female entrepreneurs are twice as likely to cite a Facebook page as the communication tool most likely to generate sales.
They are also more likely than their male counterparts to have a business Twitter account (15% compared to 10%).
Meanwhile, 50% of women are planning to increase their focus on social media over the next 12 months, while men are more likely to invest in staff and training in the next year.
With regard to company websites, the research reveals women are more likely than men to allow products and services to be purchased from their site (48% compared to 40%).
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However, men are more likely to invest in new technologies than women.
While 27% of male small business owners intend to invest in technology in the next year, only 17% of female small business owners plan on buying the latest gadgets.
The uptake of new technology is also more prolific among men; 54% have a smartphone, compared to 42% of women, while 16% of the men surveyed have a tablet device (compared to 13% of the female respondents).
Jason Fryer, head of small business services at American Express, says the research shows male business owners tend to focus on the importance of acquiring tools with which to get connected.
“Their female counterparts are more focused on putting these tools to work for them,” he says.
Overall, Fryer says it is encouraging to see that 40% of small business owners are using at least one form of social media in their businesses.
“[This demonstrates] this sector’s resourceful and eagerness to embrace new technologies and methods of communication,” Fryer says.
“With over 800 million active users and a range of tools designed to enhance interactive communication, sites like Facebook offer great potential for small businesses to attract and regularly communicate with customers.”