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Social media logosWe have had a look at the 4th Australian Social Media Report generated by Sensis and were intrigued by some of the findings. "While in previous years, social media growth was driven by younger demographics, now the growth is being driven by older demographic groups. At the same time younger Australians are driving adoption of new, more visual platforms, such as Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat, as usage of their previous favourites, like Facebook, has become more mainstream."

 From what has been found, social media is continuing to grow as a path to purchase for consumers with an increasing number of Australians utilizing social media to research products that they desire. Have a look at some of the stats that we found most interesting from this year's report. 

- Of the 36% of small businesses that have a social media presence, only 24% of these have a social media strategy

- 95% of Australian social media usesrs are on Facebook and the typical Australian Facebooker spends more than 8.5 hours on Facebook a week. This is effectively an additional hour and half per week more than last year.

- Mobile is now firmly the dominant tool for accessing social media services with 71% of Australian users accessing social sites via their smartphone.

- The average frequency of Facebook usage per week has increased from 21 times in 2012 to 30 times in 2014. This is in contrast to Twitter where the average number of times used per week has dropped from 23 times in 2012 to 11 times in 2014

- Usage of social media for product research by consumers, leading to a purchase has increased from 40% in 2012 to 63% in 2014

What do the findings mean?

The team behind the Yellow Social Media Report has gathered that, whilst consumer usage of social media has become mainstream, businesses are still lagging behind consumers, despite having significantly increased their involvement over the past year. The surveys discovered that while 69% of online Australians use social media, only 36% of small businesses and 48% of medium-sized businesses have a social media presence, potentially missing a significant opportunity for their businesses to connect with customers and build relationships with their existing customers.
Significantly, small and medium businesses that had embraced social media were more likely to report better business performance, being more likely to report increased sales, profitability and employment than those without a social media presence. Despite the investment in social media, almost three in ten small businesses have no strategy to drive traffic to their sites, reflecting a lack of strategic approach for social media in small businesses generally. Less than a quarter of small businesses that used social media had a strategic plan in their business for it, compared to just under half of medium businesses and just under three-quarters of large businesses.

It is evident from these findings that there is huge room for growth commercially around social media as users continue to grow more engaged with social media and find more uses for their platforms.

To learn more about how you can start utilising a social media presence for your business click here