The billions of new consumers who are about to
emerge globally will have never lived in a world
without it. .
They will expect to find you on their platform of
choice, not because you’re a cutting-edge, socially
savvy brand, but by default – much as shops once
required floor space and a front door.
Here’s another reason why having a social media
presence matters: the people using social media are
There’s hard data that the research they do in social
networks influences what they buy.
Although social networks influence decision-making
on and offline (for example, who people vote for or
what accountant they’ll use) this year e-commerce
alone was worth $1.3 trillion with expectations it
will continue growing at a staggering 20% per year.
According to a recent Sensis Social Media Report, of
the 65% of Australians who use social media, one in
five research products using social media –
nearly 70% of which convert to a sale.
Yet, as Frost & Sullivan shows, of the
$18.3 billion spent online by Australians, 79% is on
overseas sites. (Notwithstanding this social commerce,
or shopping by social media, is still sizeable,
bringing in $300 million this year.)
While many factors contribute to this statistic, the
gap between consumer expectation and business
behavior is telling; only 30% of small businesses and
around half of medium-sized businesses currently
having a social media presence.
Of those that do, many whack up a Facebook page or
start a Twitter feed because they believe they
‘should’ instead of asking the deeper, age-old
questions about who they are as a business, why they
are there and what their customers want. In other
words, having a strategy.
A disconnect is that many leaders continue to think
about social media as a channel, specifically for
communications or sales.
What social media, like technology, delivers is an
expectation that cannot necessarily be delivered
under legacy business structures: immediacy.
This can in part be addressed at a channel level.
For example, in Australia 70% of social media users
shop by smartphone and businesses that have
successfully adapted to mobile can generate sales by
suggesting additional options at the point of sale.
(Not surprisingly, those customers want issues
resolved just as fast and in an online space that
But there’s increasing evidence that this is not
enough and that it’s the companies that ‘get’ digital
as a ‘way of being’ rather than a ‘handball-tomarketing’ which outperform their peers.
A recent two-year joint study by Capgemini and MIT
Sloan of almost 400 firms found that businesses who
are more digitally mature, or ‘digirati’ as the report
calls them, have a clear digital advantage over their
less mature peers.
The report found that digirati were:
• 26% more profitable than their less mature peers;
• Generate 9% more revenue through their employees
and physical assets;
• Generate 12% higher market valuation ratios.
Capgemini Australia’s Digital Transformation lead Ben
Gilchriest says that what distinguishes digirati is
that they make strategic decisions on where to excel
That results in technology-enabled initiatives that
change engagement with customers and internal
operations, and even transform business models.
Some sign up to platforms like LinkedIn but are not
actively using it.
This is a bit like going to a networking lunch and
standing in the corner.
In the past a succession plan would have ensured
social and digital capabilities were identified and
emerging leaders trained but the accelerated speed of
change means the impact of delay is serious.
Leaders can act to ensure their business models do not
put them at a competitive disadvantage in the future
by understanding that social media is not about a
‘like’ on Facebook or a 140-character tweet, but the
future of how we do business.
Social media is not about social media. It’s about