Mississauga, Ont.—The majority of Canadian companies feel social media offers an invaluable competitive advantage, according to a new survey commissioned by UPS Canada.
According to the quarterly survey of Canadian businesses conducted by Leger Marketing, many firms feel online engagement is something they would rather not engage in but increasingly feel obligated to implement.
More than half of business leaders (55 per cent) say they use social media for business purposes, the survey found, such as market research, promotions and client relations.
Social networks such as Facebook and Google+ are the preferred destinations for business-related pages at 82 per cent, while sites such as Twitter (48 per cent) and YouTube (47 per cent) are also heavily utilized by members of the business community.
The survey also found social media use to be most prevalent within large, youthful organizations—particularly those with 500 or more employees (78 per cent).
According to the survey, social media use is least common within organizations that are led by older Canadians over the age of 50 (54 per cent do not use social media).
Of those business leaders who choose to engage in social media use for business purposes, 62 per cent said their efforts were fruitful.
In fact, only 11 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with the results they had achieved.
A third were unsure of the extent of their success.
When asked to identify their top three social media objectives, business leaders typically said they aim to:
- Gauge market interest in a particular product or service that they are offering;
- Conduct more general forms of market research; and
- Strive to reach out to peers and develop knowledge-sharing networks within their respective industries
Despite acknowledging the persuasive power of social media and the growth potential it offers, most organizations still dedicate few resources to building an online presence, according to UPS.
Just over half of respondents (54 per cent) spend less than two per cent of their budget on social media, the survey found, while nearly half spend less than five hours a 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, according to UPS.
For those business leaders over the age of 50, 36 per cent said a lack of knowledge of social media is the largest hurdle they face.
A quarter of business owners say 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 ten said a lack of human resources was the most significant barrier to adapting social media to promote and grow their business.
According to UPS, the survey was comprised of 255 Canadian business decision makers (CEOs, executives and senior managers).