Social media is about people. Businesses must remember this.

Have you logged onto Facebook today? If so, what did you see? Food videos that can’t taste as good (or be as simple) as they look? Recaps from The Bachelorette that you don’t want to engage with but got sucked into regardless? Perhaps a sponsored post from Vinofomo with relatable, trendy 20-somethings sipping glasses of pinot, making you consider that $300 subscription (no? Just me?) But for most of us, this stream of content isn’t what we came to see. No, we want to know what our friends and family are doing – events they’re hosting, photos they’ve posted, articles they’ve commented on.

Brands who nail social media understand that success means elevating what it means to be human. By that, I mean that we humans crave interaction, acceptance, laughter and happiness. It’s easier to understand how we might get this from our friends and family, but more difficult to see how an organisation or brand might help with this.

A quick history.

In Australia, 8 out of every 10 people use social media. Of that group, nearly all (95%) use Facebook. As a nation, the number of people with a social media account is higher than it’s ever been, and we’re logging on more frequently than ever before. In fact, more than a third of the nation are checking their social media feeds more than five times a day, and a quarter of us check at least once a day.

While many bigger brands adopted a social media strategy to engage with their customers long ago (although, ‘long ago’ isn’t very long at all when we’re talking about something that’s only existed for a decade), many smaller businesses and government organisations came a bit later to the party. What’s more, is that bigger organisations and major brands have entire teams and agencies whose sole job it is to manage social media – which also means staying abreast of the many, many changes that occur within the social media world.

At Ellis Jones, we wear many marketing hats – and one of them specialises in digital and social media. We work frequently with organisations wanting to leverage social media to meet business objectives. But what businesses often forget – and what we as an agency must try to remember – is that social media isn’t all about brands and organisations, it’s about people.

The person behind the smartphone.

It’s all well and good to have a super slick social media strategy that aligns with many of your organisation’s goals, but if this approach doesn’t include real-life people – customers, users, referrers – at its front and centre, then it’s missing the point. The primary reason that so many people enjoy Facebook is that it allows them to stay in contact with friends and family – 9/10 users say this is their reason for using social media. On the other end of the scale, consider this:

Less than 2/10 (18%) of Australians say they use social media to follow brands and businesses, while just 9% say their reason for using social media is to engage with brands.

They’re quite sobering numbers, given there are over 65 million Facebook business pages.

The organisation behind the account.

The best business social media accounts perfectly marry their business objectives (whether that’s promoting an event, a recent business success story or a new product offering), with what their audiences want to see (interesting content that is, directly and indirectly, related to the page, nice photography, an engaged and interested community).

We often refer to social media management as ‘community building’, and while this might sound like a lofty marketing term, it’s exactly what brands and organisations are attempting to do via social media. A digital community can be as powerful – and is often more so – than a real-world community. Facebook is a forum that can bring together your customers – people who may be united by a love for your product, by their location, or by their demographic – and enable them to act as the organisation’s strongest advocates. A strong Facebook or Instagram community will do more than just like your post; they’ll make you known to others who may never otherwise have found you before.

If your business needs help putting people at the front and centre of its social media strategy, talk to us.