Social media for brands; what you need to know in 2017.

Another year, another Sensis social media report. As Australia’s largest annual survey on social media use, this annual report is a great way for marketers to understand the current ‘state of play’ in Australia’s social media landscape. For those who lack the time to read the 55 page report, these are the key takeaways on social media for brands.

In short, we need to try harder. More Australians than ever are on social media (79%), yet people are less interested in following brands and organisations, and we are more discerning than ever – from too much advertising to poor content, we’ve never been happier to click that ‘unfollow’ button. People’s expectations are higher, and brands need to continue focusing on producing interesting, relevant and timely content.

What’s in it for me?

Make no mistake. People use – and like – social media as a tool to stay in touch with their friends and family. While this may seem obvious (you’re probably reading this thinking, ‘well, yeah, why else would I use Facebook?’), it is very easy for organisations to forget this. According to 89% of Australian users, social media is, first and foremost, a place to socialise. Brands need to remember that they’re usually secondary (at best!) to the experience users want from social media.

Following brands.

Perhaps more worryingly, Australians are becoming significantly less interested in following brands and organisations on social media. Last year, around a third of us attested to following a brand (mainly as a way to hear first about discounts, sales and giveaways). This year, less than a quarter of us are following a brand, which is a significant drop off from recent years. For those us who do follow a brand, we’re most likely to click ‘unfollow’ if we find the content irrelevant and uninteresting, which of course makes sense. We curate our feeds based on what we want to see – so good content is critical to success.

Sponsored ads – a love/hate relationship.

Around a third of Australians are quite happy to see advertising and sponsored posts in their feeds. However, approximately another third actively dislike social media advertising. Interestingly, the thing half of us claim to dislike is being served sponsored advertising from organisations we already follow. In fact, over a third of Australians cited too much advertising as being a main reason for unfollowing the brand. The lesson here? While advertising is necessary for nearly every organisation (simply as a way to combat Facebook’s algorithms and get your content seen), your content must still be good!

Trust issues.

2/3 of us ‘trust’ a brand, based on how it interacts with its customers. Brands that make an effort to interact with customers in a positive way are most likely to be trusted. This sits above how many followers an organisation has, and how regularly it updates its content; although these factors do remain important. So what does this mean? It means that community management is more important that it’s ever been. It’s not enough to fire off good content into the feeds of your audiences – that’s only half the job. It’s critical that you’ve got a strategy to respond to their messages, their comments, their posts. If you’re after a great example of community management, Holden’s responses to their official support for this years Mardi Gras in February were excellent – on brand, positive and consistent.

So, what have we learnt? Essentially, good content is as important as ever, as is tight community management – positive interaction with your audience counts for a lot! We can help.

Talk to us if you’d like assistance with social media – from research and strategy to content development and execution.