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Category - Social Media

Australian Brands and Social Media

How small, medium and large businesses in Australia are using social media in 2017
More people are using social media than ever before, but there is a glaring disconnect between the ways consumers and businesses are using social media in Australia.
The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealed record numbers of people are using social media to connect with brands they love, yet social media use is declining among Australian businesses.
The 2017 report has for the first time incorporated an exclusive chapter on business social media trends, providing valuable insight into how small, medium and large businesses are using – or not using – social media.
We’ve analysed the report to provide you with insights into what’s driving these trends, and how your business can gain a competitive edge on social media.
Snapshot of Australian businesses with a social media presence
Big business is leading the social media movement in Australia, and 6 in 10 large businesses (60%) are using at least one social network. But that number has fallen quite dramatically since 2016, when 79% of the large businesses surveyed used social media.
Of those still on social media today, only 42% of large businesses are optimising their online reach using paid social media advertising.
Social media presence has dropped among Australia’s small (47%) and medium (49%) businesses too.
With the declining organic reach of social media, paid advertising has become a necessity to effectively reach and grow audiences on platforms like Facebook. But the report revealed only one quarter of the small businesses on social media are investing in advertising, along with 37% of medium business.
As for businesses without a social media presence, 40% of the large businesses not on social media today had been in the past, as had 8% of small businesses and just under 1% of medium businesses.
These figures are a startling contrast to the consumer behaviour report, which revealed 8 in 10 Australians are now active on social media including 99% of 18-29 year olds, and 96% of people aged 30-39. Of that age group, 41% use social media to connect with brands and businesses. And three quarters of all consumers indicated they were more likely to trust a brand that interacted positively on social media. Unfortunately, without a social media presence many Australian businesses are just nowhere to be seen.

About the businesses using social media
The hospitality sector is the most socially savvy, with 70% of Australia’s cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers now on social media.
Other industries with an above average representation on social media include Cultural Recreational and Personal services (66%), Retail (58%), Communication, Property and Business services (58%) and Wholesale Trade (53%).
The bottom performers were Transport and Storage businesses (27%) – down from 38% the year before, and Finance and Insurance services (32%) down from 41% in 2017.
This indicates Australian businesses are switching off social media, probably due to lower than expected reach, ROI and ultimately sales. Which is why it is so important to understand how to maximise your online presence and make social media work for your business, in any industry. 
The highest use of social media among small and medium businesses is occurring in the Northern Territory (55%), followed by New South Wales (51%) and Queensland (50%). Less than half of small and medium businesses are using social media in Western Australia (47%), Tasmania (45%), Victoria (42%), ACT (39%) and South Australia (36%).
There is very little difference in social media presence between regional and metro businesses, at 47% and 46% respectively. In the previous year, regional businesses had a higher rate of social media use with 51% uptake, leading their city counterparts by 5 points. 
Social media channels used by Australian businesses
Continuing to be the platform of choice, Facebook is used by nine of 10 businesses with a social media presence. LinkedIn is the second most used platform overall, but it’s more popular with large businesses (82%), over their medium (41%) and small (35%) counterparts.
Instagram is being used by four in 10 medium businesses, compared to just 20% of both the small and large organisations, and Twitter usage grows with business size, from 24% of small businesses to 36% of medium and 55% of large businesses.
The survey revealed very little uptake of other social media platforms, with only 16% of small businesses on Google+, 11% on YouTube, 4% on Pinterest and 1% on Snapchat.
This is perhaps surprising, considering the Sensis consumer report revealed Australians are significantly increasing their time using video-based platforms, with 51% of Australians now regularly using YouTube, and some users spending up to three hours per day on Snapchat.
Businesses switching off social
The use of social media among Australian consumers grew 10% in 2017, to 8 in 10 people. But the social media presence of businesses has dropped since 2016, by as much as 19% among large business, prompting us to question why they’re switching off.
The Sensis Social Media Business Report found more than half of all small and medium businesses, and four in 10 large businesses, do not have a presence on any form of social media.
Of those, nine per cent of the small businesses and 11 per cent of the medium businesses said they hoped to start using social media within the next year. But none of the large businesses had these intentions.
The most common reasons large businesses gave for not being on social media, was the belief it took too much time (70%) and they couldn’t see any benefit (65%). Almost half (48%) admitted to not understanding social media, while 43% were afraid of having a visible public rating system. Five per cent of small businesses felt being on social media was ‘too risky’, while 3% said it was too expensive.
Overwhelmingly, these figures show a majority of Australian businesses still do not understand the capabilities of social media as a marketing or sales tool, and they’re missing out on the opportunities, customers and profit it can provide.
Importantly, Australian businesses need to realise they don’t need to manage their social media marketing themselves, and engaging a professional social media manager and content developer with digital marketing experience is the best way to get the greatest results from their social media investment.
Why businesses are using social media
 Of the businesses that are on social media, most are using a mix of written content, images and videos.
We know Facebook posts with images see almost 2 ½ times more engagement than those without, yet 30% of small businesses post exclusively written content on social media.
Similarly, 34% restrict their social media posts to either photos or images, which fails to take advantage of the benefits of content marketing.
The leading reason for maintaining a social media presence was advertising or promoting a business, followed by acting as an avenue for customer contact and interaction. Surprisingly, only 4% of small businesses are using social media to actively increase sales and only 7% of large businesses use social media to drive new business and grow their customer base.
Discounts and giveaways were identified in the consumer report as the main offering customers want from businesses and brands they follow on social media. These reasons topped the chart at 54% and 48% respectively, up from 41% and 30% last year.
However, only 17% of large businesses are offering incentives to consumers via social media, along with 25% of medium businesses and 29% of small businesses.
The report also revealed small and medium businesses need to pick up their act when it comes to engaging with and responding to followers on their social channels. Only 51% of medium businesses and 61% of small businesses engaged with people who provided reviews or ratings on their social media pages, compared to 93% of large businesses. 
Marketing and advertising on social media
The rate of paid advertising on social media has increased among SMBs, but dropped 20% among large businesses.
A vast majority of businesses paying for social media advertising are doing so on Facebook, and 100% of large businesses that did advertise on social networks found it effective, compared to 74% of medium and 69% of small businesses.
Bigger organisations are also showing interest in other platforms, with 24% of large businesses advertising on Twitter and 20% on LinkedIn.
Annual budgets for social media investment have dropped across the board, and one quarter of small businesses now have no budget for social media spending at all.
Two out of every 10 small businesses using social media only have up to $500 per annum to spend, while 80% of large businesses are spending less than $5000 a year. This figure is significantly lower than five years ago, when the 2012 Sensis report found large businesses were spending an average of $100,480 on social media per year.
Interestingly though, a majority of these businesses now allocate more than half of their annual marketing budget to social media, investing in advertising (54%), strategic management services (24%) and content services (22%). 
Managing social media channels in business
Most Australian businesses are continuing to manage social media internally, with small businesses being the most likely to outsource social media management (8%).
Seven in 10 small business owners manage their own social media, compared to just 10% of large business owners, who are more likely to enrol the help of their marketing department (85%), up from 53% the year before.
Daily social media updates are increasing among all sectors of business, and 88% of large businesses now post on social media everyday, up from 65% in 2016.
This reflects the response to growing consumer demand for social content, with 59% of Australians now using social media daily, and more than a third checking their newsfeeds at least five times a day.
Interestingly, the report shows almost 50% of small businesses are only posting content on social media once a week or less, while 4% of medium businesses and 3% of small businesses never update their social media channels. It comes as no surprise then, some of these businesses are not achieving their sales and marketing goals.
How businesses measure the ROI of social media
One of the most important elements of social media strategies for business, is to set clear and measurable goals. This can include specific social media elements like page likes and engagement on posts, but should also measure leads, conversions and sales in real terms.
Facebook’s inbuilt analytics and marketing tools provide businesses with this capacity, but according to the figures, many businesses are missing the mark when it comes to measuring their social media success. Only 33% of large businesses, 20% of medium businesses and 23% of small businesses analyse their performance, so most Australian businesses aren’t measuring their ROI from social media at all.
Of those that do, eight in 10 large businesses determine their ROI on the number of responses they receive on social media. While 95% of large businesses and 52% of small businesses measure their success based on the number of likes and followers.
This fails to provide insight into how many of those responses and followers are being converted to paying customers, or whether they’re positive or negative interactions. Vague or irrelevant measuring could be further contributing to the downward trends revealed in the 2017 report.
Future plans and expectations
Perhaps many of the holes in the performance of social media efforts among businesses can be explained by poor strategic planning. The 2017 Sensis report revealed only four in 10 SMBs have a social media strategy in place, compared to 90% of large businesses.
And if the figures are accurate, perhaps not a lot will change, with a vast majority of businesses expecting to maintain the same expenditure on social media in the year ahead. Medium businesses (39%) were the most likely to increase their social media investment.
Three quarters of medium businesses also believed social media could contribute to an increase in sales, while only 53% of small businesses and four in 10 large businesses shared this enthusiasm.
Overall the report demonstrates some Australian businesses are turning their backs on social media because it isn’t working for them, yet the figures clearly show us why.
Lack of strategic planning and advertising investment, failure to set targets and measure performance, and a lack of professional knowledge and experience in content development and social media management are all contributing to the downfall of this digital marketing tool.
While those businesses that are dedicating sufficient advertising budgets, setting measurable goals, and engaging the expertise of trained staff or external agencies to manage their social media marketing for them, are more likely to experience greater success in converting those virtual likes and thumbs up to paying customers and real dollars.

How Australians Are Using Social Media

The must-have consumer behaviour report to boost digital marketing for your business
From staying in touch with friends to posting snaps of Sunday brunch or sharing viral cat videos, many of us now live our lives through social media.
Facebook remains the world’s largest social media platform and recently reached the record of 2-billion monthly active users – that’s two thirds of the world’s population with internet access.
The rise of social media is reflected here in Australia too, where the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report has revealed eight in 10 Australians now use social media.
Understanding who these people are, and how, when and why they use social media, is key to making this important digital marketing platform work for your business.
The 7th annual Sensis Social Media Report reveals that while social media use is increasing, what consumers want from brands on social media and why they use it continues to change.
We’ve read all 81 pages of the report to bring you a summary of must-have information to maximise the ROI of your social media marketing, starting today.
A snapshot of who is using social media in Australia in 2017
According to the report, 8 in 10 Australians are now using social media. That figure rises to more than 99% of Australians in the 18-29 age group using social media, with use gradually dropping off as the ages progress, down to just under half of senior Australians aged 65+. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, p13)
Females are slightly more active on social media, as 60% of Australian women use social media at least once a day, compared to 58% of men.
Daily social networking is highest in the Northern Territory with 82% of Territorians using social media at least once daily, followed by Tasmania and South Australia with 75% and New South Wales with 62%. Social media appears to be less popular in Queensland, with 26% of Queenslanders saying they never use social networking.
Social media users in Australia have potential to connect with, and importantly influence, hundreds of immediate contacts.  The average Australian has 234 Facebook friends, and an average of 469 people in their networks across the six top platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+ and Instagram.
Why Australians use social media
The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report reveals the main reason Australians use social media is to catch up with family and friends (89%). This has dropped since the peak of 95% in the 2014 report. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, pp33-34)
Other top reasons Australians regularly use social media are sharing photographs and videos (57%), watching videos (43%), getting information on news and current events (37%), playing games (34%) and making new friends (30%). Of all reasons people have ever used social media, 45% have posted a selfie, 40% have posted photos of food, and 39% have deleted friends.
Australians aged 30-39 are most likely to use social media to follow or find out about particular brands or businesses (27%), and more specifically to obtain offers or promotions (22%). Internet savvy seniors aged 65+ are the most likely age group to use social media to research products and services before they buy.
Men are more likely to use social media to engage with a brand for customer service issues rather than using email or telephone, 11% vs only 8% of women.
Products and services Australians are searching for on social media
Clothing and fashion used to top the list of social media searches in Australia, but this year more Australians are using social media to search for items for their homes. Electrical goods are the most common product search (47%), followed by furniture and ‘other things’ for the home (42%).
Among the people who regularly use social media to research purchases, their most recent searches were for clothing and fashion or appliances and electrical equipment (both 17% respectively), holidays, travel and accommodation (10%), movies or TV shows (9%) and entertainment, furniture or things for the home (8%). A total of 15% of people indicated they were searching for something other than the provided options on their most recent search.
Products and services are more likely to be researched on mobile devices (52%) compared to computers (35%).
And in tracking the pathway to purchase, the survey found 52% of social media product research led to a purchase, slightly down from 59% in 2016. Of those purchases, 61% were made online. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, p36)
When and where people use social media in Australia
Seven in ten Australians are active on social media in the evenings, still the most popular time for social media usage across all gender and age brackets.
The biggest gender divide occurs at lunchtime and during breaks, when more males use social media than females. Overall, 21% of Australians are using social media while they are working, but this figure rises where almost half of Australians aged 18-29 admit to using social media while at work (46%).
Ironically, most Australians are getting social while at home, with 96% using social media in their own house. This is followed by 43% on public transport, up from 25% in 2016, 37% in the car, up from 20% last year, and 33% at restaurants, bars or parties, up from 19% previously. Despite those requests to switch off, 5% admit to using social media at the cinema, and 9% use it at the gym.
The living room is the most popular room of the house for accessing social media (84%), followed by the bedroom (59%) up from 42% in 2016, and the kitchen (34%) up from 22%. Overall, 14% of Australians are using social media while on the toilet, but this is most common among the younger age group, where 29% of 18-29 year olds admit to social networking while on the loo. Facebooking from the toilet is a popular pastime in the Northern Territory, too (35%). (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, pp28-29)
How Australians access social media
We are all opting for the convenience of mobile devices, and now 81% of Australian social media users access social networking on their smartphones, up nine points from 2016. Smartphones are most popular with 18-29 year olds, with 97% accessing social media this way.
Desktop computer usage has plummeted from 60% in 2011, to just 28% this year, and even laptop use has declined, from a peak of 69% in 2012, to a low of 30% in 2017. Females (31%) are more likely to access social media on a tablet than males (18%).
With mobile devices so popular, most people are accessing social media on apps rather than websites (68% vs 9%). Seven out of 10 social media users prefer using apps, but the number of people using both websites and apps has almost doubled since last year, from 12% to 23%. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, p27)
The most popular social media channels in Australia
It is the largest and most popular social networking platform in the world, so it comes as no surprise 94% of Australian social media users are on Facebook.
Snapchat has seen the biggest jump in Australian users, doubling from 20% to 40% in one year, but it is still topped by Instagram (46%) and YouTube (51%). Twitter’s popularity has also increased from 20% to 32%, likely due to the increasing visual capability of the network.
LinkedIn and Google+ are least appealing to those aged under 30, and more females than males prefer Facebook (97% v 91%), but males have higher usage of all other platforms. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, pp17-18)
Snapchat is the most frequently accessed social media platform, with its users averaging 42 uses per week, while most Australian Twitter users Tweet more than 5 times a day (67%).
In each individual session, Australians are spending an average of 32 minutes on Snapchat, 28.1 minutes on Twitter, 26.9 minutes on Instagram and 23.2 minutes on Facebook. This equates to up to three hours a day on Snapchat for some users, and 10 hours per week on Facebook. (Sensis Social Media Report 2017, p22)
What Australian consumers want from brands and businesses on social media
It’s the question on the lips of every business and social media marketer – what do they want from us? Well, the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report has the answer for you.
Free stuff!
Discounts and giveaways are the main offering consumers want from businesses and brands they follow on social media. These reasons topped the chart at 54% and 48% respectively, up from 41% and 30% last year.
Three in 10 followers are looking for product information, while 22% want information about the company, or invitations to events. Twenty per cent would like free tips and advice, and 19% are looking for feedback forums. Unfortunately 29% keep us guessing, indicating their reasons for following businesses don’t fit into any of the provided categories.
The types of brands and businesses people follow on Facebook have changed too, with lifts in sporting brands and clubs, work or profession related pages, and electronics and technology businesses, while telecommunication providers and fashion brand follows have declined. Interestingly, this was reversed on Twitter, where the only increase was in fashion and clothing related businesses, while there was significant drop off in interest in sporting brands and work related content.
Attitudes towards social media advertising are softening, with more users welcoming suggested pages. Fewer people are ignoring social media ads (44% down from 53%) and compared to last year, more people are more likely to inspect a brand’s social media presence before making their first online purchase with them.
Business can build trust with users by interacting positively with customers on social media, as indicated by 64% of survey respondents, up from 52% last year. Engaging and relevant content is also key to building trust (63%), as well as regularly updating content (59%). These reasons were all more important than having a large number of followers (46%).
Consumers won’t hesitate to unfollow a brand on social media if they share irrelevant or unappealing content (43%) or show too many ads (35%). Interestingly, showing too much content is more likely to get a page unfollowed than sharing too little (28% v 7%).

Sensis Social Media Report, p42
And while only 22% leave business reviews or ratings, 44% of Australian social media users read business reviews and blogs, and 60% of those will read up to five reviews before making a purchase decision.
While there is still a very delicate path to tread in order to get your social media mix just right, the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report provides valuable insights into consumer behaviour in Australia.
With the right management and digital marketing team on your side, this information can help you make the most of your brand’s social media presence in 2017.

The Social Media Labyrinth

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Whether you’re running a bricks and mortar store, a large corporate, or a start-up in the digital space, social media offers universal benefits for every business.
Initially seen as a gateway to connect with customers and promote products and services, social media has evolved to become one of the most powerful sales and marketing tools available today.
Realising this potential, many businesses make the mistake of rushing in and launching multiple social media accounts without any planning or strategy. The 2016 Sensis Social Media Report found only 31% of Australian small businesses using social media have developed a strategic plan, compared to 76% of large businesses.
Pretty soon, they realise they can’t keep up with the demand for content across every channel, and their efforts aren’t rewarded with the ROI they’d like for their precious time.
Then there are those businesses still resisting the social movement. Although social media uptake is growing, less than half of Australia’s small and medium size businesses use social media, compared to 79% of large businesses. Some are simply overwhelmed by the growing number of social media platforms to choose from. Often though, they are corner stores and real-world businesses that struggle to see the benefits of an online presence. Key to realising this connection is understanding that wherever and whatever your business is, chances are your customers are using social media.
The latest statistics show 69% of Australians have a social media profile, and 50% use social media every day. For 49% of Australians, social networking is the first thing they do when they wake up. What business doesn’t want that kind of exposure?
Whether your business is new to the world of social or you’re thinking about a social media makeover, we take a look at the benefits of some of the most popular social media platforms to help you find the best fit for your brand.
Facebook has become a virtual home for almost two billion people right across the globe.
Now the largest social media platform in the world, Facebook has transformed from a social networking site to a multi-faceted virtual reality that allows people to bring almost every element of their real-world lives, online.
It’s where we connect with friends and family, watch and broadcast videos, shop online, find and review businesses, research interests and hobbies, listen to music, network in social groups with colleagues and peers, and even buy and sell secondhand goods.
Brands have realised the potential of being in this always-open digital marketplace, with more than 70-million business pages now active on Facebook, including 5-million active advertisers investing USD$7.86-billion in advertising revenue in Q1 2017.
Facebook’s following continues to grow, reaching a record 1.94-billion Monthly Active Users in the first quarter of 2017. With 90% of that audience accessing Facebook on mobile, marketers now have the unprecedented ability to deliver brand messaging direct to their target group’s fingertips.
Facebook’s wide-ranging features provide businesses with a suitable platform for a variety of content, including blogs, videos, live streams, images, competitions, even messenger bots and of course, targeted advertising. But perhaps one of its greatest features is the diversity of Facebook’s following, with user age ranging from 13 to 65+. Worldwide, people aged 18 to 34 make up 59% of Facebook users, while the largest demographic is males aged 18 to 24, accounting for 18% of all users on Facebook.
Closer to home, the Sensis Social Media Report found 95% of Australian social media users are on Facebook, towering above the next most popular platforms of Instagram with 31%, LinkedIn 24%, Snapchat 22%, Twitter 19% and Pinterest, 11%.

In addition to providing a flexible marketing platform for all industries and all ages, Facebook also offers businesses built-in analytics and tools to help manage and monitor social media performance, from scheduling posts, to recording click through rates and conversions.
Best for: Facebook is an extremely diverse platform that almost any business can use efficiently. Facebook combines the best features and functionalities of all social media platforms, with the ability to post photos, videos, live streaming, clickable links, long-form copy, blogs, competitions, promotions and targeted advertising. If your business is just getting started on social media, or you only want to use one social media channel, Facebook is probably the best place to start.
We all know there are only 24 hours in one day. That is of course except on YouTube, where an average 1 billion hours of video content is consumed daily.
As of the first quarter of 2017, YouTube has 1 billion users, or around one third of the world’s internet users.
And while its primary purpose is a video hosting site, YouTube also qualifies as a social media channel because it allows users to interact with each other, building relationships between the YouTuber and their audience.
The world’s most popular YouTube stars each have a cult-like following of tens of millions of viewers, and a handsome salary to match. The number one YouTuber known as PewDiePie has over 54-million subscribers and made an estimated US$15-million in 2016. The top-rated YouTube content ranges from beauty vlogs and comedy to gaming commentary and well, however you define WhindersonNunes.
While businesses can also launch YouTube accounts to broadcast their own branded content, placing an advertisement on already viral videos provides a much easier pathway to reach large audiences. And although nearly half of all millennials think YouTube has the most annoying ads, YouTube’s video advertising revenue reached USD$5.18-billion in 2016 alone.
So who is watching all these videos? Not surprisingly, mostly young people, but the audience is probably more diverse than you think. YouTube reported it reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the US, including 91% of US internet users aged 13 to 17. But the older generation is also embracing digital video. The time spent on YouTube by viewers aged 55+ tripled between 2015 and 2016.
Best for: Unless your business has a budget for high quality video production, or experience in vlogging, creating DIY YouTube marketing videos might not be the best solution for you. But advertising to YouTube’s captive audience is certainly an option for brands to consider. Companies can also store corporate and promotional videos on YouTube for distribution via their other social media channels.
Instagram has grown from strength to strength since the Facebook acquisition in 2012.
The photo-sharing app had only 30-million users and zero revenue when Facebook purchased Instagram for a reported USD$1-billion. Official advertising revenue figures are not released, but with more than 700 million monthly active users now on Instagram, the app’s revenue for 2017 has been estimated at more than USD$5.3-billion.
Instagram’s capabilities and features have grown too, expanding from simply sharing photos to creating collages and videos, Boomerang animations, and more recently, Instagram Stories (disappearing videos and images), Instagram Direct, and digital stickers.
For businesses, this means a multitude of different ways to market your brand and promote your products. And best of all, the Instagram audience is primed to buy. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business on Instagram and products have the highest engagement of all content types on Instagram.
Globally, 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35. While in Australia, Instagram is our second most favourite social media platform behind Facebook, and people aged 18-29 make up the greatest user demographic, accounting for 58% of the Australian audience.
Best for: Instagram is primarily a visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and surroundings on a digital global stage. The addition of features like Instagram Stories gives businesses even more flexibility and creative freedom to connect with customers in new ways. Above all, Instagram’s association with Facebook makes it easier to integrate the two channels together, including cross-channel advertising, and automatically sharing posts from Instagram to Facebook, saving you time and money.
It’s the social media platform of choice for celebrities, media outlets, and corporate companies. And it has an audience of 328-million monthly active users, and growing.
Twitter’s short and sweet 140-character limit makes it the best network for getting a message out fast. Although recent changes to Twitter’s messaging structure mean you can now fit more content in each Tweet than ever before, including links, images, videos and live streaming.
Twitter is also the birthplace of the hashtag, used to categorise themes in posts. The hashtag continues to play a key role in this and other social media platforms, identifying trending topics and making Twitter the modern day go-to source for breaking news and world events.
Engagement rates for businesses on Twitter are notoriously low, achieving a 0.02% interaction rate for major brands with at least 10 million followers, and 0.18% for smaller brands with an audience of 1-1000. Yet an estimated 65% companies use Twitter for marketing, indicating Twitter is achieving results and reach not measured by the traditional likes-driven analytics of competitor platforms like Facebook.
Twitter claims 85% of users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, while 75% feel better about a small or medium business after following its Tweets, and 69% have been influenced to purchase something from a business because of Twitter.
In Twitter’s Q1 2017 Letter to Shareholders, the company revealed quarterly revenue was $548-million, including $474-million from advertising. In the same period, total ad engagements had increased 139% year over year, and cost per engagement was down 63%; results Twitter attributed to ongoing improvements to algorithms for accelerated ROI and engagement rates for advertisers.
Twitter’s audience continues to be dominated by the younger generation, with 55% of users aged 25 and under in the first quarter. Closer to home, 19% of Australian social media users are on Twitter, and of them, 53% are aged 18 to 39.
Best for: Twitter is a great option for corporate companies unsure about the bright and colourful world of the more visually dominant social media platforms. While Twitter’s imagery and video content is significantly increasing, it is still an appropriate platform for a brief text-only message, which isn’t suitable on any other platform. Still, companies in all industries should embrace any opportunity for sharing content and storytelling, corporate doesn’t have to be all black and white.
If you’re in the wedding industry, and you haven’t already, go and open a Pinterest account right now.
Same goes for any business specialising in food and drink, home decor and art, DIY and craft, women’s fashion, health and fitness, travel, technology, hair and beauty and tattoos.
These highly visual business categories are among the most popular searches on Pinterest which now has 150-million active users worldwide. Perhaps not surprisingly, a reported 85% of those are female. Pinterest is the 6th most popular social media platform in Australia, and women aged 40 to 49 are the leading demographic of the Australian audience (19%).
Pinterest users or ‘Pinners’ are encouraged to create digital vision boards of their favourite images, including artworks, products, and an inspirational quote (or 12). It is believed this time spent curating images encourages greater brand affinity, which might explain why Pinners spend 50% more compared to other shoppers referred from different social channels.
Best for: If the core offering of your business is visually appealing, or female oriented, consider setting up a Pinterest Business Account.  As with the other social media channels, Pinterest allows you to pay to expand your reach and target specific audiences, as well as track and monitor your performance. The key to success here is to use high quality imagery, update regularly and ensure all pins are linked back to your website or online store.
Snapchat is still the new kid on the block when it comes to social media marketing tools. Which is also why it has some of the most exciting growth potential. Snapchat has 158-million daily users globally, and each Snapchatter spends an average of 30 minutes using the app over 18 sessions each day.
With those figures, what was perhaps first dismissed as a passing fad or entertainment app, is now being realised as an influential marketing platform. Snapchat’s advertising revenue has been estimated at $770-million in 2017, and that amount looks set to grow with the introduction of Snapchat’s new advertising products including Snap Ads, Sponsored Geofilters and Sponsored Lenses.
But you don’t need a big budget to reach people on Snapchat. A growing number of businesses are using the app as a way to connect with customers on a more human level, sharing ‘stories’ (pictures and short video clips) snapped or filmed with a hand-held smartphone camera.
In Australia, Snapchat is ranked the fourth most popular social media platform, capturing 22% of social networking users down under. Young people aged 18 to 29 make up 60% of Australian Snapchat users.
Best for: A great add on to the more mainstream social media channels, especially for bloggers, retail and commercial businesses with a young target audience. Best of all, Snapchat is still a new and evolving platform so it’s an exciting opportunity for marketers to pioneer this new technology.
For some brands, a combination of several social media platforms is often the best way to reach multiple niche markets within target audiences. For others, focusing more time and resources on just one social media account will reap the best results.
We’ll leave you with some takeaway considerations for solving your social media struggles:

Identify your audience and their social media platform (or platforms) of choice, and put your brand and products in that space.
Develop a social media strategy, content plan and image archive to ensure continuity and consistency BEFORE launching your social media account.
First impressions last. Remember your social media presence might be a customer’s first and only interaction with your business. Make sure the personality, appearance, messaging and tone of your social media matches that of your brand.
Monitor and measure your results. If you’re investing time and money in social media, you want to know what’s working, and what’s not. Unfortunately, more than a quarter of Australian small and medium size businesses and over one third of large businesses don’t even know how much they’ve spent on social media advertising. And only 21% of Australian small businesses measure their ROI on social media, compared to 61% of large businesses.
Consider and plan your response to customer queries, compliments, complaints, negative reviews, trolls and cyber-bullying, and appoint several page admins or hire a professional digital and social media marketing team to ensure appropriate, responsive and timely action.

The Latest Social Media Fails

There’s one big flaw that all brands have that no one likes to talk about: they’re run by fallible, emotional and sometimes careless human beings.
Every once in a great while, these humans make mistakes—they slip up all too publicly on their brands’ social media properties.
When this happens, most us watch the disaster unfold with bewilderment at the stark stupidity of it all. While these mistakes often create backlash for brands, and sometimes a bit of recovery work, they’re not necessarily the end of the world. Having said that, it may be the end of the career line for the people who caused the problem/s in the first place.
In the interest of learning from the mistakes of others, following are some of the worst social media fails of the last 12 months:
Total Beauty: Confusing Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg
Total Beauty made a pretty serious social media faux pas when they confused two hugely popular African American female celebrities; Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg.
Both are not people whose bad side you want to be on, and the brand may have done so when they praised Oprah Winfrey for having tattoos while it was in fact Whoopi Goldberg in the picture.
To make matters worse, the tweet was released during the Oscars, meaning that Total Beauty not only received the attention of the fans of both women, but of all the viewers tweeting about the Oscars that night.
To their credit, they reacted quickly, taking down the photo as soon as they could and apologised for the misstep.
ALDI: Inciting Negative Responses
ALDI Australia didn’t offend other people, but they did accidentally incite others to upload questionable content on their Twitter page. The popular discount retail outlet wanted to run a campaign that would prompt their customers to post positive memories about shopping at Aldi.
After the ‘Fill in the blank’ tweet went live, Aldi received many distasteful responses, with people filling in the blank with offensive imagery like diarrhoea, poison, and many other less pleasant responses.
Fortunately, Aldi quickly stopped the campaign.
Key learning: consider all possible outcomes – negative and positive – when palnning you next social media campaign. Remember, consumers are not constrained by policy, guidelines and corporate imperatives like you are.
Coca-Cola: Released the Wrong Russian Map
The biggest social media rule is the one that always seems to be broken the most: do your research.
In this case, Coca-Cola incited a #BanCocaCola hashtag after they published an ad with the wrong map of Russia.
When you take a closer look, the map is outdated. It doesn’t include Kaliningrad, which was annexed after World World II. Russian patriots were not happy with the ad, and began posting pictures of themselves pouring Coca-Cola into toilets. Ouch.
Seoul Secret: White Skin Helps You Win
There are times when you just scratch your head and wonder what a brand’s marketing/social media department was thinking. This is one of those times.
Beauty brand, Seoul Secret ran an incredibly inappropriate campaign, that basically implied that one of their models was more successful because she has white skin.
To make matters worse, the campaign was called “White Makes you Win”. What was it promoting? Skin lightening cosmetics.
Seoul Secret tweeted about their campaign and included a video of Thai actress and singer Cris Horwang.
In the video, she spoke about her career and made direct comments about her white skin and why it has made her more successful than others.
Most brands fear social media mistakes like the ‘Wrong Russia’ one made by Coca-Cola. Taking it to a whole new – and worse – level is running a blatantly racially offensive campaign. Imagine having to clean up that marketing mess.
There is Life After a Social Media Fail.
While these social media fails were clearly a headache for these brands, you shouldn’t panic if you should stumble into/create a social media firestorm.
The best way to recover from a social media campaign that has gone wrong is to act quickly, apologise (invariably) and show that you’re genuinely trying to fix the mess. A good social media strategy is all about planning and balancing sensitivity with common sense.
If having a successful social media program is something you’re worried about, speak with a social media expert about how to do it right; and what to do when things go wrong.
Tick Yes is a digital and social media marketing agency based in Sydney that uses proven social media strategies to help clients improve their brand. For more information on how we can help manage your social media strategy, contact us.

When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm.
Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of the world’s attention. Or at least, the attention of those on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.
Some crave re-gaining their anonymity. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be related to a global celebrity. There are countless examples of wives, children, parents and siblings of celebrities doing things that reflect negatively – funny isn’t it that it’s always the bad behaviour that grabs the headlines – on their famous relation. Others try to make money from their association

Others, it seems, miss the limelight and do whatever they can to re-capture the attention.
Social media reflects the best and worst of human nature and consequently can destroy as much as it can create. The most popular blog post we’ve ever written by a factor of two discusses ’How social media is helping to beat cyber-bullying‘. There have been far too many examples of social media attention driving people to despair – or worse.
So what’s the take out? Unless you have a clear plan and can stick to that plan, be very wary about exposing yourself too much in these very public forums. While it’s tempting to seek approval and show the world how amazingly fabulous your life is, the other side of the coin can show itself quickly and easily. Someone can post nasty or incriminating content about you and your whole carefully crafted image can come crumbling down. Footballer Mitchell Pearce has recently found that out to his great cost.
We’re quite active on social media but we’re also very selective about what we do and don’t post. In other words, we try to have a foot in both camps: active yet under the radar. When we launched a new business some years ago the media we generated brought several anonymous cowards out of the woodwork posting all manner of nasty comments about the business and me. Or so I was told. I still believe my reaction to our own social media maelstrom was perfect: I didn’t read any of it and never have.
In Greek mythology, Icarus ignored his father’s advice and flew too close to the sun and subsequently fell to earth when his feather and wax wings melted. We see the social media equivalent all the time.
Here’s the key point: you don’t need to be on social media. Or at least you don’t need to be constantly posting photos and videos of every coffee you drink, croughnut you eat or person you kiss. You are entitled to a life where every aspect of it is not pored over by others some of whom may have no good will toward you.
Like sugar, social media can be addictive as it gives you an immediate buzz. But like sugar, the longer-term consequences of living your life on social media can be harmful - or worse.

Hang Gliding

The Only Way to Make Money from Social Media

If I had a buck for every time I was asked “How can I make money from social media?” I wouldn’t have to write posts about making a buck from social media.
The problem is not with social media itself. No platform worth its cyber-salt ever claimed that you’d make millions by posting, uploading or liking social media content.
Oh, I know, I know. How about Oreos, Dell, Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Kim Kardashian etc you ask. And I’d answer “Yes, but…”.
All of those brands and the many others that are profiled in seemingly every social media presentation were major brands either before or separate to the influence of social media. That’s my point. Wrestling with the answer to the ROI from social media is like trying to quantify the ROI from your receptionist. Each has their undoubted benefits but being able to spend $1 on either with the certainty of getting $5 back is not one of them.
Neither can do you or your organisation any good in isolation. You need your other marketing initiatives in place for social media to be truly effective. By effective, that means integrating with those elements to deliver my favourite marketing equation of: 1 + 1 = 23.5.
So the only way to consistently make money from social media is for it to become a fundamental part of how you do business with the outside world.
What’s too often forgotten when any marketing investment is being reviewed is that success is not about doing one thing occasionally, it’s about doing a hundred little things consistently. There are few more visual, flexible, dynamic and interactive ways to do lots of little things than via social media.
The frustration of course is that it’s hard to highlight exactly what the financial return is from your social media investment. But try cutting social media altogether – or doing it poorly – and see how your increasingly discerning markets think of you; particularly compared to competitors that are active on social media.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
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Latest Social Media Stats for Marketing

We’ve looked at some of the most recent studies on social media topics and trends and picked out our most surprising and revealing ones that all businesses should be aware of. Let us know if you find any other good ones.

Twitter shows Companies how NOT to use Twitter

It seems that many people and companies suffer from Twitter remorse –when they hastily post something on a social media site that they instantly regret. In 2015 April, that company was Twitter themselves.
Twitter shares fell drastically after their disappointing first quarter earnings report was shared on Twitter before the end of the trading day. The company had planned on releasing the report after markets were closed, but instead, they suffered great losses after a financial intelligence firm, Selerity, shared the report.
What actually happened was only a very small mistake. NASDAQ, who operates Twitter’s IR website, admitted they had accidentally put the results up for a very short time – less than one minute. This was just enough time for Selerity to detect the new earnings and share them with everyone.
And this is not the first time this has happened to a publically traded company. JPMorgan had a similar issue when their results appeared 2014 October.
This is a great warning for companies about how careful you have to be when using social media. We have already talked about how great social media marketing can be and how quickly it can help expand your customer base, but it can just as quickly hurt your company as well. All it takes is one early leak, false statement, or poorly worded joke, and your company can be all over the Internet for the wrong reasons. And as this Twitter news shows us, it is not so easy to just delete something before people see it. The earnings were only put up for around 45 seconds, and in that time, Selerity was able to find the information and disseminate it to the public. Just because you delete a tweet or a blog post quickly after it goes live does not mean people won’t see it.
Now this does not mean your company should avoid social media completely. The benefit of using social media greatly outweighs the possibility of a small slipup. What is does mean is that you should not take social media lightly. Everything you post online is important, and while one post probably won’t gain you a ton of customers, one post can definitely lose you a lot of customers. Twitter’s story is just another reminder that no one is immune from this type of mistake. The best way to handle it is to make sure you have smart and responsible people managing your social media, and make sure they realise how important every post truly is.
Here are some other Social Media slipups of 2017 and  2018 for you to read.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Infographic: Social Media: What Are You Afraid Of?

Many organisations have either thrown social media into the ‘too hard’ basket or they’re doing it poorly. Often it’s the youngest member of the marketing team “who’s always on Instagram” who gets appointed without any plan to manage the social media face of multi-million dollar organisations. Or every post, tweet and photo is about how wonderful the organisation is.

But without doubt the worst thing organisations do is to do nothing lest ‘something goes wrong’. The conversations go something like this: there are risks in allowing customers to have a say (what a concept!!) on social media so it’s best we don’t give them the chance. The problem is, your customers are going to say what they think whether you’re there or not. Isn’t it better to be part of the conversation, to correct misinformation and build brand awareness / equity?
Our infographic outlines five fears about social media that we’ve encountered with organisations and ways to address them.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Pinterest: The Most Underrated Advertising Platform

By Megan Ritter
As Pinterest gets ever closer to launching its much anticipated “Promoted Pins” campaign, the spotlight has finally turned to one of the most underrated advertising platforms on the web. If you aren’t yet using Pinterest to boost your brand, then it’s time to find out more about how both free and paid Pinterest marketing can function to optimize your ROI.
Pinterest and Your Brand
For SME’s, Pinterest is a veritable gold mine of marketing opportunities. Unlike other major social media platforms, Pinterest offers users the ability to market posts (for free) not just to followers, but to all of Pinterest. For example, when you create a status update on your business Facebook page, users who do not already have a vested interest in your product are unlikely to stumble upon it. In contrast, when you upload a pin to Pinterest, Pinterest users from all over the world have access to your content.
Who Uses Pinterest?
Pinterest is popular amongst mobile users, with the platform attributing 75% of its traffic to mobile web visitors. With such a large mobile visitor base, Pinterest is particularly advantageous to brands seeking to increase their mobile presence; and with the mobile web accounting for an ever increasing percentage of business sales, who isn’t? By attracting mobile web users, your business can begin to cater the on-the-go demographic, catching the attention of mobile visitors who are perusing Pinterest while on the bus to the shopping mall, or getting a haircut nearby. As well as attracting a high percentage of mobile visitors, Pinterest is popular amongst the female demographic. Statistics show that women between the ages of 25-54 spent a total of over 3,500 minutes accessing Pinterest through the mobile web in January, 2014; almost double the amount of time that the same demographic spent on Twitter
Marketing Successfully Through Pinterest
A great as Pinterest is, just uploading the occasional pin isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t plan on investing in Pinterest’s upcoming Promoted Pins advertising deal, then you have to do the legwork yourself. To grow your consumer base through Pinterest, keep the following five steps in mind:

 Take Professional Quality Pictures: Pinterest users re-pin pictures that have good visual appeal, so photograph your product with excellence in mind. If your budget can accommodate hiring a professional photographer, all the better, but if not then it’s up to you to ensure that your pictures attract optimal attention to your product. If you don’t have a background in photography, then take a crash course to learn the basics of lighting, composition and editing.
Follow Other Pinterest Users: Be proactive in building your Pinterest follower base by following Pinterest users who have demonstrated an interest in products similar to your own. When you follow another Pinterest user, they will take a moment to view your Pinterest profile, giving your product the chance to attract a new fan.
Reward Your Followers: If you have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter following built up already, ensure that your followers follow you over to Pinterest by announcing follower contests. For example, offer a free goodie bag to your 500th follower, or reward Pinterest users who re-pin your pins with free coupons.
Post Frequently: Posting once a week isn’t enough, posting once a day isn’t even enough. The more pins you post, the higher the chance that one of them will go viral and attract attention.
Link Back to Your Website/Landing Pages: When you post your pins, ensure that every one of them carries a link that leads directly back to your landing pages or your website. If you don’t connect your pins to your sales platform, you could be missing out on potential product sales.

Pinterest Promoted Pins
A little behind its competitors in launching paid advertising, Pinterest has announced that it will soon be offering advertising opportunities to companies in the USA. Although the service is not yet available, Pinterest has begun adding interested businesses to a Promoted Pins waitlist. Interested brands must make a six month commitment and pay a CPM of approximately $30. Brands will have the option to target specific search terms, or place ads in “Everything” and “Popular” feeds. Although Promoted Pins will be initially out of the budget range of most SMEs, the development is still cause for excitement. As with Facebook, Google +, and Twitter advertising, Pinterest advertising will likely become more widely available should its launch prove as successful as projected. So sit tight, and start building your Pinterest follower base!
Post by Megan Ritter: Megan Ritter is a graduate student at USC and an online web journalist. Follow her @megmarieritter
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock