Five more lessons for Australian businesses from the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report

My last post about the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report received a lot of traffic - and that was just my initial take on it. The report is a treasure trove of insights on how Australians use social media, so I thought I’d pick out some of the other gems.

Your content needs context: Australians are using small screens more and more

The gap between laptop/desktop use and smartphone/ipad use has almost closed entirely. In all but one age group (65+), smartphones have overtaken any other device for accessing social media.

This is interesting because it gives context to people’s usage. Smartphone users are mobile - on the way to something, waiting for coffee, during ad breaks, on the toilet (yep, that’s right - 14% of respondents said they checked social media on the loo). The point is, people consume social media in small bites.

The lesson is to be mindful of that. Keep your posts short and sweet or provide a link that can be saved for later. Well-composed imagery and videos are perfect for this kind of access; it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a huge increase in this type of content.

Frequency is key: posting once a week is no longer enough

Australians check Facebook an average of 31.9 times every week. 37% of people access Facebook more than 20 times a day! People are checking Instagram around 30 times per week, and interestingly Twitter users access that platform an average 35 times per week.

Your audience might not see all of your posts due to the sheer volume passing through their newsfeed. To have a chance though, you must be presenting new and engaging content on a regular and consistent basis. Posting once a week will not bring you the results you are looking for.

Path to purchase: what are people buying?

The highest percentage of people (21%) said holidays, travel and accommodation were researched on social media. Following that, fashion (12%), and appliances and electrical (11%).

Of interest to businesses is that 59% of respondents said research using social media led directly to purchase. More than 70% said that resulting purchase was made online.

The lesson here is that even if you don’t have an online store, you can compete in this space by having a strong social media presence. But if you have the means, you should offer an online option - this is not necessarily an expensive undertaking these days. If you’ve had someone tell you otherwise, it’s time to get a second opinion.

What do people want from you?

Surprise surprise ‘discounts, giveaways, exclusive offers and coupons’ top the list. I really do believe you should have a strategy in place that includes regular opportunities for your customers to either win something or get first crack at a sale, discount or some kind of reward for their loyalty.

More than 30% of people also said they wanted product information from businesses on social media. They also wanted industry information (22%), information about the company (25%) and tips and advice (26%). This all shows that people are using social media to find out more about your brand, service or business. This is great news because it opens up opportunities for you to develop a broad range of content that not only showcases your products, but gives information and insight across your  category.

Should I be advertising on social media? Won’t I annoy people?

This is a question I get asked all the time. My answer is almost always yes, you should be advertising. And if you have thought carefully about your advertising, no, you shouldn’t worry about annoying people (hint: don’t make annoying ads!). Advertising will ensure your followers see your posts, and expose your business to potential customers. You can use ads to drive sales, promote an event or drive people to your website...but that’s a discussion for another day.

Does social media advertising annoy people? The report finds the percentage of people who are happy to see ads on social networking sites is 34%. A further 25% are neutral and 41% of respondents don’t like ads. I’d suggest those odds are pretty favourable - remember, people don’t like ads in other formats too.

Remember that what people say in surveys and what they do in real life are often different. My experience with advertising on social media is that it’s overwhelmingly effective. And unlike print and radio advertising, you get very clear data on whether your social media advertising is working.

Reviews aren’t just for restaurants

Online ratings and reviews have exploded over the past few years. When they are favourable, ratings can go a long way to helping you to build trust with your followers. About 80% of respondents in the Sensis report said they provided up to 10 online ratings last year. Almost 60% said they would expect to read up to five online reviews or ratings prior to making a purchasing decision.

The report finds that “brands are more likely to build trust if they interact positively with customers on social media, make their content engaging and relevant and keep it regularly updated.”

This quote could be my mantra. It is at the core of all the advice I give to clients.

You have to be authentic and responsive in your social media accounts. It’s important that the brand persona you project matches with the customer experience. This, in turn, will result in positive ratings, and the online reputation your business deserves.

Are you creating a social media presence that provides information and insight into your business, product or services? Or are you struggling to understand how the heck it all works?

It can feel overwhelming, but don’t succumb to a flurry of social media posting. Get in touch if you would like some help to make your social media work for you. I can provide you with the tools to work more effectively and help you get your head around this important marketing tool.