Despite the advantages of using social media in reaching a wider audience, many Australian businesses fail to recognize this, as revealed in a Telstra research conducted with 1,000 small and medium firms.

According to KPMG partner Malcolm Alder, many Australian businesses are missing out on the benefits of using social media and the chance to hear out what their customers have to say about their services and products.

"Given that Australians are one of the highest users of social media networks in the world, our businesses have a huge advantage in being able to leverage this channel for business benefit, but at the moment, they are lagging behind," Alder added.

Of the many businesses that exist in WA, only a minimal 23 percent have seen the advantages of using social media, while many others think these do not bring anything substantial to their business.

According to 77 percent of Australian businesses, the internet was considered as the most beneficial technology used by business owners; online software came in second among their preferences, which can include online accounting software.

Additionally, in the Klout and Reuters list of the top 40 most influential CEOs based on social media metrics, Australian bosses are noticeably absent. The said list was topped by Oprah Winfrey, Rupert Murdoch, and Richard Branson, respectively; Murdoch is an Australian-American mogul, while Branson is an English business magnate.

Karalee Evans, a social media expert, says that social media is very labour intensive, which is beneficial for companies with 15 employees or less.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director, says that many users and customers are expecting businesses to have online and social media presence, especially that everyone is already on the tablet and smart phones.

This Telstra research shows that businesses should not only focus on getting quality online software; they should also leverage on the impact that social media use can do for their business and customers.

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