Social channels are the future of communication. Today’s world is all about fast and convenient. The modern human wants the world at their fingertips and will download a way to make that happen. Like it or not, people are more apt to meet on a dating site today than in a bar, and whether or not someone orders their favourite meal from your business while tapping their smartphone as they run down the street to catch transit will depend on whether your Facebook Review rating is high and if you have attractive photos of your food on Instagram. Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and now YouTube Red are making television compete for entertainment dollars, and with sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, KIK, Line, and Whatsapp to utilize, smartphone users are given very little reason to put their phone down. So understanding how aussies use social media is very important.
According to the latest Sensis Social Media Report, Australians are spending 12.5 hours a week on Facebook alone! This fact should be a huge call to action on the part of Australian small businesses that social channels are where they should be. The idea that the modern consumer is going to spend 30 seconds watching a television commercial should be put to rest. This fast-paced tech world has made it difficult to hold people’s attention for very long. Consider that people are now used to eyeing the fast paced timelines of Twitter and Facebook, reading and processing quickly. Certain demographics are even less-likely to read a blog post on Linked In or Google+ and will lean more towards visual channels like Snapchat and Instagram.
This trend will only keep growing. As more and more people lose the desire or ability to focus for long periods of time, the type of visual interaction that happens between a business and audience will increase. Your business will have to learn how to adapt. Given that smart phone use in Australia is now ubiquitous (I love this word) you’re going to really lose out if you don’t get your business on one of the popular, highly scroll-able social apps that smartphone users seem to love so much.
This is actually good news! These apps also make it easy to gain new clients, get them to evangelize (if you use your social channel correctly) and spread the word about your business. A good social media strategy plan can revolutionize your marketing and grow your business exponentially. Your small business simply must learn to be where your target customers are at, speak to them in a language they appreciate, and give them reason to trust your brand. The Sensis Social Media Report is a good starting place for developing a plan that tailors to the demographics of your brand. Like any good fishermen, you want to know where you game fish are located and get the right bait before you go fishing.
In understanding how Aussies use social media, there is an incredibly opportunity here to break out, you just need to learn how to harness it.
Do You Have a Social Media Strategy?
“There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.”
~American Comedian Steven Wright
Everyone in business today understands that they need to be in social media. The first thing they do is get a Facebook account and start posting. To many small businesses that is what being involved in social media is. Those of us in digital marketing understand that this is similar to buying a fishing pole and walking to any body of water and just throwing in your line. Companies will do this, see no return and think social media just isn’t for them. Well, why should they see a return just because they have a Facebook page? There are billions—yes, billions of Facebook pages. What makes yours different? What are you trying to accomplish with it? In order to understand social media, we need to apply an analogy for a little moment.
- Why are you at this particular fishing spot?
- What type of fish are you trying to catch?
- What type of lures do those fish like? Are you using them?
Using social media to your advantage is smart. According to the Sensus Social Media Report, 87% of Australians use the Internet daily. An average of 12.5 hours a week is spent by Australians on Facebook. So, yes, social channels are a good investment for your business. But you don’t just walk up to a pond and throw in a line, so you don’t just walk into Facebook throw up a post and then wait.
To explain your demographics in context of social channels (and it goes further than this, as well), but you don’t try to catch tuna in river and you’re not going into the open ocean in search of trout. You want to better understand where your target audience hangs out on the web, so to speak. You want to know when they hang out there (during work, after work, late at night), and how they choose to use that tool. For example, the Sensus Social Media Report, an annual report that catalogs how Australians use the Internet and Social Media in particular, tells us that most Australians use Facebook, followed by Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. We know from the report that they check their favorite site more than 5 times a day, but that their main usage happens in the evenings. So from this, using our analogy, we know which fishing holes have the most fish and what time of day to go fishing.
To break this down further (again in the report) we know that younger people are more apt to use Snapchat and Instagram, while older people use Facebook and Linked In. So if you’re trying to sell hoodies, you may want to sell on both Facebook and Instagram with more of an emphasis on Instagram. Someone who is interested in professional networking isn’t going to use Twitter, they’ll use LinkedIn. Your ad money would be wasted on a site like Twitter. So we have our fishing holes, our type of fish, and now we look to the bait.
Again, having a report like this in front of you when writing your social media strategy is helpful because it also tells you how your demographics use their social channels. You can’t make the right lure without understanding what they want. Understanding why people use a particular channel helps you create tactics. If your demographics is younger, appreciates visual displays, then to sell your cosmetics you may need to do nothing more but post images on Instagram and use common hashtags. Then again, you may want to have a Facebook contest.
It’s really important in writing your plan that you understand your audience and what it responds to before you start.