25/06/2015 - Posted by Roshelle Curtis
The Sensis Social Media report recently released its fifth year findings. So what were the main indicators of interest for the Perth market? According to Sensis, 33% of business have a social media presence, compared with 68% of consumers – which means over twice the consumers appear to be engaged with social media than business. Social media is used for browsing, so people can keep a ‘finger on the pulse’. Businesses can use this to engage and interact with the public. At this stage, a minority of the public (32%) use social media to follow brands and business, access offers and promotions (20%), or conduct research about products and services they want to buy (19%).
However, half of those using social media to research products and services, said they made a purchase, and two thirds of those made that purchase online. Consequently, stories of brands, products or services shared in compelling format (video/imagery) help establish positive connection. Tangible benefits like discounts, give-aways and coupons attract users – but not many businesses offer them – only a quarter of SME’s and 30% of large business, which may be lost opportunities. Yet other users seek event invitations, tips, advice, or feedback opportunities. A few social media users like sponsored posts from businesses followed (32%), which they click on occasionally to find out more (42%). This suggests paid advertising or sponsorship is effective for targeting consumers of interest, though still ignored. But strong conversion may be key! What stats interest your business?
1) Invest in Facebook & act on reviews!
Well according to Evan Ravensdale GM of Digital at Sensis, slightly fewer Australian internet users were active on social media, but there was an increase in time spent on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Facebook users spend an equivalent of a full work day (or 8.5 hours). Ratings and reviews play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction and retention, with 62% open to changing their opinion of a business based on negative feedback on social media. These findings can help direct businesses wishing to get the best return on investment for their online advertising spend.
2) Create a social media engagement strategy & target critical buying moments!
Rob Wong, CEO of AIMIA – The Digital Industry Association of Australia, highlighted almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day (up to 79% for those aged 18-29), yet only 31% of SME businesses actively operate a social media engagement strategy. Facebook is the predominant social media platform, but strong growth in Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn show potential for social engagement across multiple platforms, as more consumer attention is absorbed across social compared to other media. More social media activity away from the home, such as work, transit or restaurants/cafes, shows businesses can engage through social media at critical buying moments. Consequently, business should develop a social media strategy and policy that puts the consumer at the centre of the brand relationship. So if you don’t have a social strategy, talk to the experts at PSE!
3) What are businesses spending on social media & expecting?
Nearly all businesses using social media, have a Facebook profile, and some are using Twitter and LinkedIn – however, that’s more prevalent for medium to large businesses. Not many businesses are using other platforms – which indicate an opening there for those businesses wanting to stand out. Instagram is becoming more popular for small and medium sized enterprises, with around 10% using it now, compared to 6% last year. Seize an opportunity to stand out! Contact PSE if you need help.
So what are the stats that Sensis found on social budgets? 30% of small business have a social media presence, as opposed to 32% of medium business, and 56% of large business. 17% of small business pay to advertise on social media, compared to 32% of medium business, and 46% of large business. Business are spending more per annum on average on social media (with average small business budgets being $5869, medium being $18,098, and large being $10,088 in 2015). However, 49% of SMEs and 45% of large business have invested in social media, but don’t know how much – and only 16% of SMEs and 29% of large business measure their return on investment in social media – with 80% of SMEs and 37% of large businesses not developing strategic plans. If that’s you, PSE can help!
Only a minority of businesses measure their social media return on investment (more common amongst medium to large businesses). Those who do tend to look at response numbers, sources of brand awareness and sales (with only some using automated analytical tools). Measure of likes, followers and subscribers topped the list – with 63% of small business, 74% of medium business, and 50% of large business using this as the top measurement method. Most are seeking to drive traffic to their profiles, by including links to social media on their website, or by following other social media sites. Some businesses (25%) are trying to engage the public through paid advertising, which tends to be larger businesses. Nearly all businesses who advertise on social media, have placed an ad on Facebook, with 69% believing these have been effective. So where does your business sit?
4) How often are businesses updating social media & what’s the aim?
Daily social media updates are more common for larger businesses (56%) who update their status more frequently, but most SME are updating at least weekly, consistent since 2012. Nearly all SME (92%) and large business (82%) with a social media presence, have a strategy to drive people to their sites. A majority of business (56% small business, 63% medium business, and 71% large business) have website buttons, allowing people to share information about the business through social media profiles, to increase their brand presence. Those using social media tended to be more confident in their business and growth. 61% of small business believe social media investment increases sales (with this being 54% for medium, and 58% for large business). A social media presence is associated with more positive assessments of business performance. SMEs embracing social media were more confident about their business prospects and reported better sales, profitability and employment performance, compare to those without a presence. They were also more likely to seek growth, with many expecting to spend the same or more this year on social. Overall, social media offers a chance to better engage with customers, but quite a few businesses are still missing this opportunity by not having a presence. Business needs a strategy, whilst investing necessary time, money and resources, to implement and measure effectiveness, to maximise benefits for them and stakeholders.
5) Social media usage – Don’t forget LinkedIn & blogs have influence!
Sensis surveyed 800 Australian consumers and 1100 Australian businesses to gauge how social media channels are being used. Social media is not just the social networking websites (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter) but also online blogs, ratings and reviews. Use of paid advertising is still in the minority for all business sizes. Most advertise on Facebook, with LinkedIn and Twitter not really being used by SME’s, and only by some large businesses. Most businesses paying to advertise on social media found it effective, with larger business reporting this more than SME’s.
Blogs and reviews continue to influence buying decisions, with over half of social media users (55%) reading reviews before making a purchase. Most who read reviews look at up to 5, before making a decision – and just over a quarter of online users who post blogs or reviews (27%) and shared their experience were shown to influence potential buyer’s decisions. So responses are clearly important.
6) Responsive websites are crucial!
Sensis found average Australians use 3 devices to access social media – laptops (75%), smartphones (70%) and tablets (55%) – which also infers the importance of responsive websites that are friendly to all devices. If your website isn’t responsive, then contact PSE to quote on converting it, to fix this!
79% of Australians access the internet daily (72% in WA). It’s split 81% Metropolitan and 77% Regional. Only 32% of internet users reported to have never used social media, and this was highly skewed to those aged over 50. 68% of internet users have social media profiles to potentially interact with your business, with the majority (70%) using smartphone access via apps. 24% check in more than 5 times a day, which is up from 19% the year prior. 40% is done after work in evenings, and 41% last thing before bed. Keep this in mind for target markets, online ads and communications.
7) Which social media are used most?
Facebook dominates, capturing 93% of users, with 28% on LinkedIn, 26% on Instagram, 23% on Google+, 17% on Twitter, 17% on Pinterest, 15% on Snapchat, 5% on Tumblr, 3% on Vine, 3% on Yelp, and 1% on Foursquare. There’s been a gradual increase in the top four, but a small decline in Twitter (39% deleting their profile over the last year). 49% access social media daily and 45% first thing in the morning. Concerned your business is falling behind in platform use? Consider using PSE!
So what other interesting trends in social medium data did Sensis discover? Visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr appeal to youth audiences, with low use in over 30’s. Instagram is being used nearly 26 times a week on average, increasing from 23 times weekly last year.
Males use Twitter more than females, but females use Pinterest more than men. Users tend to spend more time on Pinterest than Facebook, reflecting that this is a highly visual, browsing-based platform. So when choosing social media, think about which platform reaches your audience best.
The average time spent on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter is around 8-10 minutes holding consistent with last year. LinkedIn usage remains higher among males, working full time on higher incomes. So choice of social media, really comes down to analysis of your target market. Else, let PSE guide you!
8) What do users buy on social media?
Fewer people are using social media to research products and services to buy this year (now 19%, down from 28%). Amongst these buyers, the most common purchase included clothing/fashion (53%), electrical goods (44%), and furniture/household items (40%). This was followed by music (26%), computers/hardware (24%), cosmetics/beauty/fragrance (23%), software (21%), videos (16%) and computer games (9%). 49% researched their purchase online and 63% made the actual purchase online. Does your industry/business fall under these areas? If so, consider an e-commerce sales site!
9) Who do they follow on social media?
About a third of social media users follow businesses or brands via social media, with the figure being 27% in WA. Ironically, 27% of SME’s have a social media presence in WA. There has been a marked decline in social media users expecting any benefit from following businesses or brands, but for those who do, discounts remain prominent, albeit the minority. Amongst Facebook users, 30% follow brands or businesses, with the most commonly followed categories fashion, sporting clubs, work-related sites, electronics/technology and telecommunications – which all increased their appeal since last year. The most common use of social media for business is to have a two way communication. It’s also used as a customer feedback mechanism. So capture and engage followers!
10) Proportion supplying online ratings – what & where?
Around a quarter of social media users provided online ratings over the last 12 months, slightly fewer than last year – but the average number of ratings provided increased from 9 to 14 for those undertaking ratings. 21% of these are from WA. Males and 30-39 year olds appear to be providing more ratings than other segments, covering hotel/motel stays, restaurants/bars, stores and holiday destinations. Over a third of SMEs and most large businesses invite customers to provide comments, ratings and reviews (to a lesser degree than previously). Similar portions engage with those who do provide such feedback. Is your business in these areas? Is this your target market? Ensure response!
11) Portion influenced by online ratings & blogs?
The majority of Australian internet users (55%) read online reviews or blogs (43% in WA), and 66% read up to 5 before making a decision. Likewise, despite discounts and coupons being a key reason consumers connect with business on social media, only a quarter of SME’s and 30% of large business offer this. Those that do, tend to offer mainly discounts and giveaways. Act on this! Take advantage!
12) Who posts online reviews/blogs & do responses help?
27% of internet users claimed to have posted reviews or blogs. Reviewers were more likely to be below 65, and live in more populated states (ie: NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD). Again, these tended to be about hotels and restaurants/bars/cafes, but review numbers dropped to 7, compared to 9 the year prior for these reviewers. If businesses respond to bad reviews this was shown to change the opinion of two thirds (ie: 31% said it would and 31% said maybe). The portion posting online in WA was 16%.
Responses and PR activities do make an impact. If you need social media assistance, try contacting PSE. PSE can help set up your social media platforms. Get the most you can from using social media!