I’m always fascinated by how people use social media – where, when, how long, how often.

Equally, it frustrates me that much of the research is USA centric. While parallels can be drawn, it’s fantastic to read the Sensis Social Media Report 2016, which showcases how Australian people and businesses are using social media.

I should warn you that I’m a bit of a stats nerd. My favourite subject at school was maths and my best subjects at uni were stats – economic statistics (practically the only subject I passed in the first year of my economics degree – yeah, I hear you, WHAT WAS I THINKING!), econometrics, tourism statistics, marketing statistics, epidemiology and quantitative research.

I know a lot about stats and numbers.

I’m still not sure how I ended up working with words.

You can read the whole report yourself, but the bits that interested me the most were these.

Sensis Social Media Report 2016 summary

Some general stats

  • 99% Australians have an internet enabled device, the average number owned is three (I have five that I use – phone, iPad, desktop, laptop, TV, as well as an old phone, phone and iPad for backup)
  • the most popular device is a smartphone with 76% owning one. Males (81%) are more likely to own a smartphone than females (71%). In terms of age,  95% of 18-29yo and 96% of 30-39yo own a smartphone – think about the implications for businesses targeting these groups who do not actually have a smartphone enabled website. There are a lot of you BTW.
  • 87% Aussies access the internet daily, 69% of us use social networking sites, 26% of users check social media more than five times a day. In case you’re wondering, I’m not admitting to how many times a day I check…

Where we use social media

  • When it comes to using social media, 49% use it first thing in the morning, 18% when commuting, 22% during work (this seems quite low to me), 33% on breaks, 36% at lunch time, 63% after work/ in the evening, 35% last thing before bed. I do wish this study showed a breakdown of weekday vs weekend but unfortunately it doesn’t.
  • 96% use social media at home compared with 35% at work, 25% on public transport, 19% at restaurants/bars/parties, 20% in the car (really hope this isn’t while driving, suspect for far too many it is 🙁 ), 14% at sporting events and 12% while on the loo (!!!). Funnily 16% of males use it in the toilet compared to 8% of females. Yes, I also said ewwww.
  • About 40% use social media while watching TV, with 44% of these watching reality TV or the news.
14% of males access social media in the toilet compared to 8% of females #ewwww #SensisSocial Click To Tweet

The sites we use

  • Social networking sites used were Facebook (95%), Instagram 31%, LinkedIn 24%, Snapchat 22%, Twitter 19%, Pinterest 11%, Google+ 10%
  • In terms of gender breakdown, it won’t surprise anyone to read that females (18%) use Pinterest far more than males (4%). However what did surprise me is that males (25%) use twitter far more than females (14%) and also use snapchat (27% males) than females at 18%.
  • Twitter is the most common platform people have stopped using over the last year, followed by Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  • Males are more connected than females, with males having 495 friends, contacts or followers compared to 326 for females. This is across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Google+
  • Why do people use social media? Not surprisingly 91% said to catch up with friends and family. 16% said to find out about brands/businesses, 12% to research travel destinations, 14% to research products or services, 28% to watch videos
  • Advertising isn’t the big taboo you might expect with 34% quite happy to see ads on social network sites (however 41% are not). 67% ignore sponsored posts from businesses they don’t follow.
  • 41% will inspect a brand’s social media presence before making a purchase
  • 10% have dated someone they met online (tomorrow one of my friends is marrying her fiancé who she met on twitter) and 2% of nasty people have ended a romantic relationship on social media. Who even does that????

What are Australian businesses doing on social media?

Now here is the good stuff. What are Australian businesses doing on social media? Let me tell you right now, not enough of you are using it. And you should be.

  • 52% of small business are not on social media. WHY??????? Compared to 46% medium business and 21% large businesses.
  • Those businesses that do use social media primarily use Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn – this is why your business should be on twitter.
  • Large businesses (76%) mostly use social media for two-way communication with clients and contacts
  • only 23% of small business that use social media update every day. You lot really need to look into a scheduling tool.
  • Only 31% of small businesses have a social media strategy compared with 36% medium and 76% large.
  • 62% of small business using social media expect it to increase sales over the next year (as do 59% medium and 68% large businesses)
52% of Australian small business are not using any form of social media #SensisSocial #smallbiz Click To Tweet

What does this mean for your business?

Plenty of things.

  • If you are not using social media and you are a small business (or any business) you need to be. Your competitors will be and you are missing out on some excellent opportunities to engage with your clients, customers and other contacts. Social media is totally awesome for providing excellence in customer service.
  • If you are ONLY promoting your business during work hours of say 9am-5pm or even 8am-6pm, you are missing out on a lot of opportunity to engage, given most people use it when they wake up and after work. This means you need to do some serious rethinking. You don’t need to be on social media 24/7, but you need to have more than just a 9-5 presence.
  • Given the vast majority of people use Facebook (95%) and the second and subsequent most popular being used by 31% or fewer, you really do need to consider Facebook as a marketing tool. The significantly smaller usage of other social media channels is a very clear indicator that you need to know who your target market is and where they are likely to be.
  • Please have a plan. Make that PRETTY PLEASE. With a cherry on top. If you don’t have a social media strategy in place, then yes, you probably will be wasting your time and energy. Your plan also needs to link back to your overarching business strategy and your marketing plan. Yes, I can help you with this. Just get in touch. Be warned, there are lots of people out there who call themselves social media experts but aren’t. I’ve written a handy guide about how to choose a social media consultant.
  • Be aware of the demographics of who uses social media and how and where they access it. Know the demographics for your target market and know where they are. Be responsive to them. More and more there is an expectation that business will be on social media, so you need a really valid reason if you are not. I’m too scared or I can’t be bothered really doesn’t cut it.

If you want more details, read the whole of the Sensis Social Media Report 2016.

If you want some help with your social media, or if you’re not sure how to actually get started, please get in touch.

If you want more social media information why not join me at the 2016  Social Media Success Summit – it’s on in October and as it’s a virtual conference, you attend via your computer at home or at work – and registration is now open.

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