SYDNEY: Content creation is the biggest challenge facing Australian marketers using social according to a new study, far outweighing other issues such as measurement or distribution.

The findings emerged from the 2015 Social Media Management Study by Hootsuite, a social media management system, which surveyed 100 Australian executives from various industries as part of a wider global report.

As to why they were using social media in the first place, the answer was, overwhelmingly, to increase brand awareness: six in ten (61%) cited this as their key objective. Increasing brand loyalty (13%) and increasing sales (12%) were a long way behind.

Facebook (29%) was the main platform used for these efforts, with Twitter (16%) and Instagram (15%) regarded as the next most important.

But three in ten respondents said creating suitable content was a problem, making it the biggest issue for businesses using social media. In comparison, measurement exercised just 18% of respondents and distribution across multiple platforms 15%.

Other areas presented a lesser challenge: monitoring and feedback, competition tracking and assigning publishing authority to team members were each mentioned by just 12% of respondents.

The majority, therefore, do not regard social media as presenting major hurdles and fully 87% viewed it positively, believing it could give their business a competitive advantage.

In fact, six in ten (61%) indicated they were likely to increase their use of social media. Hootsuite divided these into 'promoters' – the 24% highly likely to increase their usage – and 'passives' – the 37% somewhat likely to increase usage.

"Australian businesses understand the benefits and competitive advantages that social media provides, however [they] continue to struggle with fully capitalising on this trend," said Roger Graham, director of growth and marketing at Hootsuite.

"There's great opportunity for companies to embed social media as a fundamental component in their marketing efforts," he added.

For example, most (58%) were not using a social media management system to help with such things as advance scheduling of posts which could enable them to make greater use of social media platforms.

Data sourced from Hootsuite, Digital Marketing Asia; additional content by Warc staff