As Generation Y gradually expands its footprint in the Australian workforce, small business owners under the age of 40 are increasingly more likely to use social media to bolster their operations and communications.
That’s according to a Bibby Barometer conducted in July, which found that most small business owners (73 per cent) are currently using social media tools, with young business owners (aged 18-39) significantly more likely (83 per cent) than older business owners (56 per cent).
Facebook was the most common social media tools being employed by nearly half of respondents, following by LinkedIn (26 per cent), Google+ (23 per cent) and Twitter (21 per cent).
“Social media is increasingly being used as an essential channel to boost awareness of small businesses and their brands and to reach new and existing customers. It’s also being used as a channel to recruit staff,” Bibby Financial Services managing director, Australia and New Zealand Mark Cleaver said.
Referring to a recent study by Telstra ('The Digital Investor’), Cleaver said Gen Y will represent 35 per cent of the workforce by 2020 and, therefore, the rapid adoption of technology and social media is irreversible.
He added that the use of new technology is the only way SMEs can survive in an increasingly competitive and technology-reliant world.
The Bibby survey reveal that just over half (52 per cent) of all businesses believe that technology such as smart phones, tablets and cloud technology can give them an advantage over big business, with young business owners (61 per cent) more likely to feel this way than older owners (35 per cent).
Similarly, more young owners (64 per cent) said they intend to invest more in technology in the next year than their Gen X counterparts (38 per cent).
Overall, the majority respondents (61 per cent) believed the roll out of the National Broadband Network would have a positive impact on SMEs with 27 per cent believing that it would be very positive.