NOTHING TO FEAR EXCEPT THE COST OF FEAR ITSELF

Despite the many years that social media has been with us, I still come across small businesses, government agencies and local governments, who choose to stay away from social media – or at the very least limit their exposure to it. The primary reasons appear to be a perceived lack of time – or more often fear. Well, I am here to tell you that both reasons are absurd.

These people should all consider the following top 10 platform user statistics:

  • Facebook – 16,000,000 Monthly Active Australian Users (steady)
  • YouTube – 15,000,000 Unique Australian Visitors per month (UAVs)
  • Instagram – 9,000,000 Monthly Active Australian Users (FB/ Instagram data)
  • WhatsApp – 7,000,000 Active Australian Users
  • Snapchat – 6,400,000 Monthly Active Australian Users (Snapchat data)
  • WordPress.com – 5,800,000
  • LinkedIn – 5,500,000 Monthly Active Australian Users approximately
  • Twitter – 5,300,000 Monthly Active Australian Users approximately
  • Tumblr – 3,700,000
  • Tinder – 3,000,000 Australian users (my estimation)

It is also instructive to note that:

  • Worldwide the average social media usage is 3 hours per day
  • Australians spend an average of 6 hours a week on social media
  • 14 – 24 years-old men spend 8.8 hours a week on social media
  • 14 – 24 years-old women spend 14 hours a week on social media
  • 48.2% of baby boomers are active users of social media
  • Social media usage is growing at the rate of 6%+ per annum in Australia

Australians like people around the world are besotted by social media.

For those in business or government who think they can avoid social media, consider these statistics:

  • 91% of consumers believe in the power of social media to connect
  • 64% of consumers want to connect with brands on social media
  • 70% of consumers expect the CEO of their favoured brands to be on social media
  • 78% of consumers want brands to use social media to bring people together
  • Social media is the number on media for brands to connect
  • 51% of consumers believe social media helps brands understand them
  • 54% of consumers use social media to research products prior to purchase
  • 49% of consumers now engage with and rely on social media influencers

Rather that questioning the value or dangers associated with social media, business and governments need to ask themselves if they can afford not to have a dynamic social media strategy. Marketers have already asked and answered this question. Note:

  • 73% of marketing executives report social media as being effective
  • 87% of video marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website
  • 86% of companies produce blog content compared to other formats.
  • 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing
  • 78% of companies have a team of one-to-three content specialists

The issue of fear is an interesting one. A few years ago a client told me that the government agency he worked for could not get engaged with social media because of the danger that negative things would be said about his department of minister – a patently absurd comment – as indeed, I told him. Within moments of his making this statement I found 3 sites full of comments directly critical about his department and minister – none of which he knew about. The points being:

  • What might be said on the website of a government agency or local government is already being said on Facebook and other platforms
  • When comments are made on various platforms that the agency or local government are not aware of – they are harder to find and address
  • Be setting up a social media page and actively seeking commentary – at least the department or local government know what is being said and can respond

On the last point, I recently communicated with the General Manager Marketing with a major corporate who suggested that his business actively encourages the community to get it all off their chest and say what ever they are thinking about issues relevant to his employer. He noted – ‘They are saying it – whatever it is – anyway – so we may as well see it in a forum where it is easy for us to respond and take action’. Research suggests that 91% of consumers who have a bad experience don’t complain – and 90% of those customers just don’t come back. For this reason alone, it is important to make it as easy as possible for people to complain. And don’t worry about bad language, abuse and slander – which can readily be addressed with simple curation.

Get more involved with social media. It is only going to grow in popularity and effectiveness – but don’t do it without a strategy that will ensure the potential problems are minimised and the potential upside is maximised. Don’t just set up a social media page or place ‘stuff’ on social media. Get an expert social media consultant who understands marketing, communication, social media and YOUR BUSINESS, to develop a strategy.

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