The annual Sensis Social Media Report – a survey of 800 consumers, 1000 small to medium businesses, and 100 large businesses – provides valuable insights into the social media habits of Australian consumers and businesses.’
It informs the decision-making of business owners around their exploration of the cost-effective digital avenues of the online world. It’s an important tool by which they improve customer engagement and target marketing efforts toward a specific audience. The increasingly large number of Australians that use it has cemented social media as one of the most effective weapons for communicating with and advertising to consumers.
According to the report, the average Australian owns three internet-enabled devices – most commonly smartphones – which provide instantaneous, around-the-clock access to social media. It found we spend more than 12 hours per week on Facebook alone, the vast majority accessing social media sites multiple times each day.
Businesses are taking notice, but it comes as little surprise that many of them struggle to keep pace with the rapidly evolving online landscape generally, and social media specifically.
Facebook was overwhelmingly the most popular platform among businesses, used by 89 per cent of small, 79 per cent of medium and 89 per cent of large businesses respectively. Conversely, a much lower proportion of businesses said they used Instagram, with only 12 per cent of small, 28 per cent of medium and 42 per cent of large businesses active on the platform.
This is interesting, and at KDPR the figures struck us as counterintuitive. Through our experience in public relations, consulting regularly with clients on social media, we have found, on average, Instagram to be the most effective platform. It seems strange that so few businesses have invested in it.
This anecdotal evidence shows the effectiveness of social media channels is highly circumstantial and should be assessed on case-by-case basis. What works best for one company might not for another and results achieved online are likely to vary based on the size and nature of a business, and its audience.
While useful, studies like the Sensis Social Media Report should not be taken as gospel. Businesses should not be afraid to experiment with a variety of different social media platforms until they find the one that works best for them.
With the results of the Federal election still being counted, it would be fair to assume the communications’ practitioners behind the campaigns are busy counting up their own wins. How much coverage was achieved? Did all of the key messages appear? Were the calls to action strong enough? Did the tone of the messaging resonate with the target audience?
Key elements of a communications campaign include ensuring a clear understanding of who you’re targeting and most importantly, how they prefer to receive key messages. Audiences have a variety of communication channels to receive information and therein lies the challenge for the communications practitioner. The ability to identify what channels to invest time and money, to gain cut-through and results, is a mixture of thorough research, data crunching and taking calculated risks. This process starts well before the campaign goes to market. It is vitally important for the communicator and the audience to be on the same page and understand who the campaign is designed to reach and why. To make this process easier it is important to ask the following questions:
To make this process easier it is important to ask the following questions:
- What does success look like for this campaign?
- What do you want your target audience say about you after this campaign?
- What does the commercial success for this campaign look like?
- What are the time frames?
While it is exciting and fun to plan and develop ideas for a new campaign, it is even more exciting to see a campaign deliver the results intended.