Social Media Report Part 1optus2010


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Recent (Sept 10) AUSTRALIAN research report, prepared by Stancombe Research and Planning on behalf of Optus Small and Medium Business and COSBOA, provides an overview of how small to medium businesses view and use social media.

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Social Media Report Part 1optus2010

  2. 2. 2 CONTENTS SECTION 01: Introduction: Rohan Ganeson, Managing Director, Optus Small and Medium Buisness 01 A peak perspective: Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) 03 Executive summary 04 Methodology 06 Qualitative findings 07 THE SURVEY RESULTS 09 What influences social media decision making? 10 Social media decision makers are older, more senior 10 Most small and medium businesses are inactive in social media 13 Younger social media decision makers lead the way 14 Social media activity is consistent across states and territories 16 Metropolitan businesses have a slight edge in social media take-up 17 Services businesses more keen on social media than goods-producing businesses 18 Leading social media business sectors rely on communities 20 Social media activity by business size 22 Developing a social media strategy 23
  3. 3. Social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are redefining the way individuals and businesses interact. Businesses are relying less on the traditional approach of broadcasting messages to a largely passive audience and instead are working harder to have conversations with individuals and communities of interest. With the growing pervasiveness of technology in our day-to-day lives, Australian consumers and businesses are more inquisitive and knowledgeable than they have ever been before; they now expect businesses to engage with them online rather than through traditional channels. The research found that among active users of social media, more than three-quarters of respondents identify a business profile as the entry point for social media. Businesses are also conscious to manage their reputation online, with many responding to posts online and reading what is written about them on a regular basis. However, a range of factors are impeding the take-up of social media by small and medium businesses. For example, many social media decision makers tend to be less tech-savvy than other staff within the business. Other factors include the confusing diversity of applications available and the lack of a proven business case. In conjunction with COSBOA, Optus commissioned leading market research firm Stancombe Research and Planning to analyse the current and intended use of social media by Australian small and medium businesses. Stancombe Research and Planning completed its qualitative and quantitative analysis in the second quarter of 2010. We have prepared this report to help Australian small and medium businesses understand the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls of social media. The report also provides an indication of the maturity of this ever-growing tool. Our aim is to provide businesses with practical information they can use to develop sustainable social media strategies. The research report can be downloaded in three parts, at courtesy of Optus. If you would like to discuss any of the findings of this research, or to share your social media experiences with us, please email me at For any questions about our products and services, or to see the great work we’re doing on Twitter, follow us at Rohan Ganeson Managing Director Optus Small & Medium Business ROHAN GANESON MANAGING DIRECTOR, OPTUS SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 01 INTRODUCTION
  5. 5. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 03 A PEAK PERSPECTIVE COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA (COSBOA). Small businesses are the great business innovators in any economy. They are also a group that sometimes holds onto past successes and glories and are hard to budge. We are a diverse group and this research supports the fact that while we have been accessing social media in growing numbers we still have some way to go to get the greater benefit from this ever growing phenomenon. Social media has taken off among young people, and among young business operators, and is now a focus of advertising and marketing companies as they attempt to get bigger shares of the various market places that exist in the real and online worlds. The best attribute of social networking is that it is one of the few level playing fields that exist in the world of business. This applies equally to retail and hospitality, hairdressers, IT consultants, transport, real estate and many other industry sectors. The bigger players will find it more difficult to compete with the personalities of the people that run small business. Big business may compete on price but they can never compete on interest and innovation. A big business doesn’t have a personality, a small business does. This research from Optus provides the information needed by small businesses to start, or to continue with their use of social media for business enhancement. The research should also influence the opinion of policy makers who need to ensure that there remains ease of access to the internet for all businesses and that no barriers should be placed in the way of the most innovative, and personable, part of the Australian business community. A small business is really akin to a person and that will always be reflected through social media. Congratulations to Optus on this report and thanks to all the small businesses who participated. I for one will be using Facebook and Twitter a lot more in the running of my bookshop and in my role with COSBOA. Follow me on Twitter at @COSBOA Peter Strong Executive Director COSBOA
  6. 6. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 04 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Social media enables individuals and businesses to communicate, create and share content over the Internet. To reap the full benefits of social media, users are required to start a conversation and communicate with each other rather than broadcast messages one way to a largely passive audience. However, the diversity of tools and applications—and thepaceofchange—canbebewilderingto time-constrained owners and employees of small and medium businesses. Nevertheless, harnessing social media can yield a range of benefits. This research report, prepared by Stancombe Research and Planning on behalf of Optus Small and Medium Business and COSBOA, provides an overview of how small to medium businesses view and use social media. According to this research, younger people are the primary drivers of social media activity in small and medium businesses. This comes as no surprise, since younger people typically lead the adoption of social media in the wider community. Yet the ultimate decision makers regarding social media at most small and medium businesses tend to be over 40 years of age and own or are in a senior role at the business. While the link between age and social media take-up is not definitive (the level of technological awareness also plays its part), this does partly explain why most businesses in this segment do not currently use social media. While social media activity does not vary by geography (city versus regional) or business size (within the small and medium business category), services organisations are far ahead of their goods-producing counterparts. Accommodation and catering, marketing and media, and cultural and recreational services businesses lead the way in the use of social media. Business activity is concentrated around Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn, with Facebook, unsurprisingly, clearly dominant. Facebook’s format—and its familiarity to most people from their personal use—drives businesses to create a profile as entry points into social media activity. Nearly half of the small and medium businesses active in social media sell products and services using this format. The research also found that companies typically spend very little of their overall budget on marketing within social media. This indicates these budgets are likely to be a peripheral part of the overall marketing strategy for most small and medium businesses. Those businesses that use social media tend to invest, on average, 6.6 hours per week on the format. However, those that are planning to get involved expect to spend about half this time—around three hours—doing so. This indicates that many small and medium businesses are unaware of the time required to regularly monitor and manage a social media presence. Small and medium businesses planning to become involved in social media primarily see it as a tool to drive sales through acquisition and retention. However, those already active in social media perceive the main benefits in networking and building relationships with customers. If businesses planning to get involved better understood these latter benefits, social media would be more compelling to them. The differences between businesses currently using social media and those that plan to in the future are echoed in the metrics they use to determine success. Small and medium businesses already active in social media are more likely to focus on quantitative metrics such as number of followers, fans or friends, whereas those looking to adopt social media are more interested in the quality of fans or followers around their brand. Companies that do not plan to be involved in social media most often say the format is inappropriate for their industry or business, citing irrelevance to their target market as a key reason. In many cases, they link this back to their customers’ limited or negligible use of social media. The researchers also found that small and medium businesses have taken up social media at a gradual, steady rate over the past few years. They expect this to continue in similar fashion, with the time spent using social media also likely to increase. This growth is expected to focus on the Big Four, with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn benefiting the most. However, Twitter is a special case: active users are enthusiastic, but those not yet using social media shy away from it. This reflects Twitter’s use and perception among its consumer market. It should be noted that, small and medium businesses are less aware of LinkedIn, but use it more regularly for business activity. The research also found Google and personal networks are the primary means of finding out more information. Only a minority turn to external agencies—pointing to an unwillingness to pay for advice. Small and medium businesses can benefit greatly from using social media. Many social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, offer opportunities to join specific groups where users can interact with others who share their interests. Social media applications offer endless ways of achieving real business benefits, including winning new customers, building relationships with existing customers, communicating with all business stakeholders in an open format, building brand reputation and opening new revenue streams. The low cost entry point to social media levels the playing field when it comes to branding and networking. However, while the opportunities with social media are plentiful, it is important to have a strategy in place, with key objectives and metrics, to ensure results meet expectations.
  8. 8. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. Market research firm Stancombe Research and Planning conducted qualitative and quantitative research into Australian small and medium businesses’ use of social media. The qualitative research comprised three interviews with key social media opinion leaders, and five breakfast discussion groups of six to eight people, who were employees and owners of small and medium businesses. The quantitative component was based on interviews with 340 Australian small and medium business employees responsible for social media decision making within their organisation. See Appendix A for a detailed demographic breakdown of the survey respondents. SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCATES IN THE SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS COMMUNITY BELIEVE THAT TRADITIONAL ONE-WAY BROADCAST COMMUNICATION MODELS ARE LOSING GROUND TO A DIALOGUE-BASED MODEL, DRIVEN BY INQUISITIVE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE CONSUMERS WHO WANT TO DISCOVER THINGS AND NOT BE ‘SOLD TO’. 06 METHODOLOGY
  9. 9. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. The qualitative research found that social media is presently a digital ‘wild west’. Those small and medium businesses involved in social media are pioneers, constantly experimenting, discovering andlearningnewwaystousethemedium. Key opinion leaders engaged in social media believe it is here to stay, for two reasons: – Social media is simply facilitating what human beings have always done: socialise and network – Social media is past the tipping point and is now ubiquitous, particularly among younger generations. However, most small businesses are still learning and experimenting. See Figure 1. Other businesses are holding back until a clear business case emerges. They typically cannot identify a return on investment as they are unsure whether social media suits their business or they lack the time or inclination to deal with social media themselves. One solution to this lack of time would be to find someone external to manage their social media presence. However, small and medium businesses are reluctant to outsource the personal voice of their brand as they feel they are best placed to communicate their own value proposition. As the business case for social media becomes more compelling, the need to outsource elements such as content creation, monitoring and measuring also increases. Social media advocates in the small and medium business community believe that traditional one-way broadcast communication models are losing ground to a dialogue-based model, driven by inquisitive and knowledgeable consumers who want to discover things and not be ‘sold to’. The scalability and low cost of social media make it an attractive proposition for small and medium businesses, prompting many to experiment with the format. However, social media tools and sites are currently confusing due to the diversity of functions that can be delivered and the vast range of social media applications available. These include customer relationship management, direct marketing and public relations. This presents small and medium business decision makers with a range of difficult questions, such as: – What should my objective be? – What tools are available and what should I use? – What skills do I need? – How do we measure return on investment? The drivers for businesses to become involved in social media are both rational and emotional. Rational factors include: – It’s free – It’s easily scalable – It can improve search engine rankings – It provides instant customer feedback – Media companies and website developers are likely to promote it The emotional factors include the hype around social media, the need to keep up with competitors and the ability to use it individually. Social media adoption is heavily influenced by business type. Business- to-business industries most often have limited use for social media due to their niche markets. On the other hand, business-to-consumer industries need to communicate to a widespread audience, which means they tend to pioneer the use of new technologies. The extent to which decision makers are tech-savvy also plays a role. Those with less technical knowledge tend to be older, but this is not always the case. People at this end of the spectrum tend to resist social media in their personal lives, but are happy to use it for business purposes if it will make them money or if they can see a clear business benefit. They are also not particularly curious about new social media tools and developments. At the other end of the spectrum are those that are tech-savvy. This group is made up of typically younger people who have embraced social media in their personal lives and are happy to sell its uses internally and externally. They also constantly seek out information on new social media tools and developments. Leaders in social media tend to be marketers with an interest in IT. Figure 1: Most SMBs are still experimenting and learning. Experimenting and learning Will start with someone experimenting with a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account etc. with almost $0 budget. Learning happens fast with direct feedback from customers Success measurement Sales might start to improve and/or more people begin to sign up to social media initiatives, begin to follow and engage with content. As momentum gathers, the business starts benchmarking success, e.g. how many re-tweets did I get today? Commitment grows As digital communication commitment starts to grow the business will start to consider hiring someone full-time and/ or using a 3rd party Senior Management in medium sized businesses will start to endorse social media initiatives once success is achieved SUCCESS/RESULTS LESS THAN 12 MONTHS 1–3 YEARS 3 YEARS + 07 QUALITATIVE FINDINGS
  10. 10. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. In a small business, the decision maker tends to be: – 25 to 50 years old – the owner-operator, partner or senior business development manager This person may or may not have good technical knowledge. In a medium-sized business, the decision maker tends to be: – in their mid-20s to late-30s – from a sales and marketing background – mostly working autonomously within the business – possibly a digital marketing or communication manager – self-determined and constantly pushing the benefits of social media internally – skewed towards the more tech-savvy end of the spectrum – an early adopter of technology Most small and medium businesses are familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. The more tech-savvy users are linking these tools together (for example, using Twitter to promote a new YouTube video). They are also aware of tools such as photo-sharing, blogging, mapping and news-sharing sites. They expect some market consolidation to occur, with several social media tools outside the market leaders such as Facebook and Twitter likely to disappear. This presents a barrier to up-take outside that leadership community. There is an overwhelming number of social media tools, not all of which small and medium businesses are engaging with. These can be grouped into the following categories. Figure 2: Social media tools are grouped based on the function they perform SOCIAL NETWORKING VIDEO SHARING PHOTO SHARING RADIO/ MUSIC SHARING SOCIAL BOOKMARKING BLOGGING FORUMS/ REVIEW SITES MAPS/ GEO-TAGGING Facebook LinkedIn Twitter MySpace YouTube Vimeo Flickr Photobucket Picasa MySpace Inthemix Delicious StumbleUpon Digg Reddit Blogger WordPress Twitter Tumblr MacTalk Eatability Tripadvisor GoogleMaps Foursquare WhereIs TrueLocal Different industries gravitate to different social media tools, as per the table below. Social networking appears to be the most widely used. Figure 3: Different industries gravitate towards different social media tools GOVERNMENT RETAIL HOSPITALITY MANUFACTURING Social networking ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔ (mostly LinkedIn) Video sharing ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔✔ Photo sharing ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔✔✔ ✖ Blogging ✔✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔ Forums/review sites ✔ ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ Radio/music sharing ✔/✖ ✖ ✔/✖ ✖ Social bookmarking ✔/✖ ✔/✖ ✔/✖ ✔/✖ Different social media tools perform different marketing functions, as shown in the table below. Figure 4: Different social media tools perform different marketing functions BRAND BUILDING PR GOOGLE RANKINGS NETWORKING CRM DM COMPLAINTS RESOLUTION Social networking ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ Video sharing ✔✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔/✖ ✔/✖ ✔ ✖ Photo sharing ✔✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✖ Blogging ✔✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔ ✔✔ Forums/review sites ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔✔✔ Radio/music sharing ✔ ✔✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✖ Social bookmarking ✔ ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✖ ✖ ✖ 08 QUALITATIVE FINDINGS ✔✔✔ Used heavily | ✔✔ Used moderately | ✔ Used lightly | ✔/✖ Relevant, but rarely used | ✖ Irrelevant, not being used
  11. 11. 09 THE SURVEY RESULTS Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. THE SURVEY RESULTS
  12. 12. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. SOCIAL MEDIA DECISION MAKERS ARE OLDER, MORE SENIOR Social media decision makers tend to be in a more senior role and aged over 40 years old. While the directors of small and medium business are the largest single group of decision makers, they are still less than one-third (29 per cent) of the total. Other key decision makers include the proprietor and general management, while marketing managers and marketing directors account for only 12 per cent. Just over 60 per cent of decision makers are aged 40 or over, while just over one-third are aged 25–39. In medium businesses, social media decision making is likely to rest with a less senior role—in many cases, that of marketing manager. FIGURE 5: SURVEY RESPONDENTS BY AGE. 1% Under 21 4% 21-24 19% 25-34 16% 35-39 25% 40-49 27% 50-59 9% 60 or older 10 THE SURVEY RESULTS WHAT INFLUENCES SOCIAL MEDIA DECISION MAKING? 1% 4% 19% 16% 25% 27% 9%
  13. 13. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. FIGURE 6: SURVEY RESPONDENTS BY JOB TITLE. 29% Director 21% Proprietor 21% General Management 17% Other 9% Marketing Manager 3% Marketing Director 29% 21% 21% 17% 9% 3% 11 THE SURVEY RESULTS
  14. 14. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 12 THE SURVEY RESULTS FIGURE 7: JOB TITLES OF RESPONDENTS BY BUSINESS SIZE. Q: WHAT IS YOUR ROLE OR FUNCTIONAL AREA WITHIN THE BUSINESS? Small business Medium business 01 Director 02 Proprietor 03 General Management 04 Other 05 Marketing Manager 06 Marketing Director 07 Sales 08 IT/Technology 09 Marketing Executive Base: Small business (248); Medium business (92). 01 0502 0603 0704 08 09 33% 27% 20% 23% 10% 23% 25% 20% 5% 1%1%1%1%1%1% 2% 4%4%
  15. 15. 13 SECTION HEADING Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 13 THE SURVEY RESULTS MOST SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES ARE INACTIVE IN SOCIAL MEDIA Most small and medium businesses (56 per cent*) do not use social media, nor have any near-term plans to start. More than one-quarter (28 per cent) are actively using social media, while a further 16 per cent are planning to start using social media in the next 12 months. This indicates a large share of decision makers in small and medium businesses are yet to be convinced that it is worth investing valuable time and resources in social media. FIGURE 8: SURVEY RESPONDENTS’ CURRENT AND PLANNED USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Q: WHICH STATEMENT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR BUSINESS’S CURRENT ATTITUDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA OR NETWORKING? Actives 526,400 SMBs already using social media* Actives soon Another 300,800 SMBs planning to engage with social media within 12 months* Inactives 1,052,800 with no current plans to get involved* 28% Currently active 9% Planning to be active in the next 0-6 months 7% Planning to be active in the next 6-12 months 56% Inactive *Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Base: Total sample (340). 28% 9% 7% 56%
  16. 16. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 14 THE SURVEY RESULTS YOUNGER SOCIAL MEDIA DECISION MAKERS LEAD THE WAY Businesses with younger decision makers are more likely to lead the way in social media. The largest group among 35–39 year-olds is the one-fifth (22 per cent) who are already active in social media, dominating overall responses within this age range. This might echo the fact most respondents in this age group are young enough to embrace innovation while being senior enough to make key business decisions. Of those expecting to become active in social media in the next 12 months, one-third (33 per cent) are aged 40–49, along with 11 per cent aged 35–39 and 22 per cent aged 50–59. FIGURE 9: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY AGE. Q: TO WHICH AGE GROUP DO YOU BELONG? Q: WHICH STATEMENT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR BUSINESS’S CURRENT ATTITUDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA OR NETWORKING? Actives Actives soon Inactives Total 01 Under 21 02 21-24 03 25-34 04 35-39 05 40-49 06 50-59 07 60 or older Base: Actives (100); Actives soon (55); Inactives (185); Total (340). 01 0302 3% 3% 3%3% 18% 16% 18% 21% 1% 1% 1%0%
  17. 17. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 05 06 0704 22% 14% 16% 11% 25% 27% 27% 33% 22% 30% 27% 22% 8% 9% 9% 10%
  18. 18. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 16 THE SURVEY RESULTS SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY IS CONSISTENT ACROSS STATES AND TERRITORIES Social media activity does not vary extensively in Australia by state or territory, with the exception of South Australia. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of small and medium businesses in that state have no plans to become active in social media, well ahead of the 50–56 per cent recorded in other jurisdictions. Only 5 per cent in South Australia have plans to become active soon. The number of people who consider themselves active in social media is well-balanced across all states and territories, with New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland all similarly active. FIGURE 10: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY STATE. Q: IN WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS IS YOUR BUSINESS LOCATED? Actives Actives soon Inactives 01 Victoria 02 Queensland 03 South Australia 04 New South Wales 05 Other Base: Vic (62); Qld (58) WA (38); SA (48); NSW (102); Other (70). 01 02 03 04 05 32% 17% 50% 32% 54% 14% 28% 67% 5% 27% 55% 18% 24% 56% 21%
  19. 19. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 17 THE SURVEY RESULTS METROPOLITAN BUSINESSES HAVE A SLIGHT EDGE IN SOCIAL MEDIA TAKE-UP Social media activity varies slightly between metropolitan and regional businesses, with metropolitan businesses a bit more inclined to be active in social media. However, the share of businesses planning to adopt social media within the next 12 months does not differ by location. 01 02 FIGURE 11: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY LOCATION. Q: IN WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS IS YOUR BUSINESS LOCATED? Actives Actives soon Inactives 01 Metropolitan 02 Regional Base: Metropolitan (176); Regional (164). 30% 16% 53% 26% 59% 15%
  20. 20. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 18 THE SURVEY RESULTS SERVICES BUSINESSES ARE MORE KEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAN GOODS- PRODUCING BUSINESSES Small and medium businesses in the services industry are more likely to be active in social media or have plans to be in the next 12 months. As services organisations rely heavily on reputation and word-of-mouth marketing, using social media is a low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry way to engage in conversation with customers and prospects. 01 02 FIGURE 12: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY INDUSTRY TYPE. Q: WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING BEST DESCRIBES THE INDUSTRY IN WHICH YOUR BUSINESS OPERATES? Actives Actives soon Inactives 01 Services industry 02 Goods industry Base: Services industry (256); Goods industry (84). 31% 17% 53% 21% 66% 13%
  21. 21. STEP INTO LIFE SERVICING CLIENTS ONLINE Rob Marshall, who owns a personal training business called ‘Step Into Life Elwood’ (one of 140 Step Into Life franchises), appreciates the importance of regularly engaging with his clients outside of their training sessions. Rob created Step Into Life’s Facebook account shortly after opening his franchise, and more than three-quarters of his clients now use it to connect with him and receive updates. Popular among his younger clients, Rob’s Facebook page created an entry point to social media and allows him to issue notices, merchandise information, events, information links and notes to his clientele. “I became involved in social media as a way to drive sales through acquiring new clients and holding onto the existing ones,” he said. “It’s a great way to network and build relationships, especially with my younger clients who have their own Facebook accounts too.” Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 19 THE SURVEY RESULTS
  22. 22. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 20 THE SURVEY RESULTS LEADING SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS SECTORS RELY ON COMMUNITIES Small and medium businesses in accommodation and catering, marketing and media, and cultural and recreational services are among the most likely to already be active in social media. These businesses typically depend heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, focus on specific communities of interest, or are themselves involved in the information industry. Personal services and health and community services organisations are among the most keen to get involved soon. FIGURE 13: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY INDUSTRY. Q: WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING BEST DESCRIBES THE INDUSTRY IN WHICH YOUR BUSINESS OPERATES? Total Actives Actives soon Inactives 01 Goods industry 02 Retail trade 03 Personal and other services 04 Accommodation, cafés and restaurants 05 Wholesale trade 06 Health and community services 07 Property and business services 08 Transport and storage 09 Marketing and media services 10 Cultural and recreational services 11 Information technology services Base: Total sample (340), Active users (100), Actives soon (55), Inactives (185). 01 02 03 04 25% 18% 13% 22% 18% 9% 7% 7% 13% 12% 9% 8% 8% 21% 29% 17%
  23. 23. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 06 07 08 09 10 1105 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4% 3% 2% 0% 0% 2% 2% 3% 3% 3% 11% 10% 10% 7% 7% 7% 7% 6% 6% 8%
  24. 24. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY BUSINESS SIZE Medium-sized businesses are more likely than smaller ones to be active in social media. Half of medium-sized businesses (50 per cent) have no social media plans, compared with 56 per cent of small businesses. However, the percentage of businesses intending to become active in the next 12 months is almost the same across both small and medium businesses. 22 THE SURVEY RESULTS FIGURE 14: SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY BY BUSINESS SIZE. Q: CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW MANY EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING YOURSELF, THERE ARE IN YOUR BUSINESS? Actives Actives soon Inactives 01 Small business (0-20 employees) 02 Medium business (21-199 employees) Base: Small business (248); Medium business (92). 28% 16% 56% 33% 50% 17% 01 02
  25. 25. Optus Social Media Index. Copyright © 2010. 23 THE SURVEY RESULTS Creating a social media strategy is no longer optional for many small and medium businesses. By not engaging with online communities, businesses miss out on opportunities to win new customers, communicate with all business stakeholders and build reputation and revenue. So how should decision makers go about building and acting on a social media strategy? The first step is to develop a strategy that details your objectives for social media, ways of achieving them and milestones along the way. Creating this plan involves researching the available social media tools and identifying those best suited to your business. While small and medium businesses overwhelmingly target larger sites, a more specialised site or tool—or a combination of both— to better suit these businesses. For example, many businesses link several social media tools together, for example, a business may use Twitter to promote a YouTube video. It may also provide links on a YouTube video to a Facebook page that in turn links to a blog that can be shared using social bookmarking tools. A key technique is to identify which tools your customers and suppliers use and how to best reach them. This should not dictate your entire social media strategy, since growth can come from acquiring new customers and markets as well as obtaining more business from existing ones. However, it provides a sound platform to deliver growth. The key to a successful social media strategy is to take it step by step. Start with one social media tool and establish a profile before interacting with social media users. At this stage you need to confirm your followers or friends represent your target market and can help you meet your business and social media objectives. You should also join conversations and endeavour to add value without attempting the hard sell. You will also need to integrate social media marketing with your other marketing activities. An essential prerequisite is either folding the social media plan into your business’s broader marketing plan, or at least ensuring the plans are harmonised. Specific measures to integrate social media into marketing activities include linking to your website from your social media profile, or adding your business’s social media contact details to email signatures, business cards, brochures and other collateral. These activities will drive more traffic to your website and social media presence. This in turn will make it even more important to regularly update content and provide input to your—and your stakeholders’—social media communities. Your strategy should ensure your branding and messaging is consistent across all platforms. It should also include specific weekly, monthly or quarterly goals, including how many friends or followers you want to acquire and engage with and how much time you should spend on social media. Importantly, your strategy should account for the fact that almost all social media tools or sites are not moderated and impossible to control. If you’re looking to control what people are saying about your business you’re headed down the wrong path. However, giving readers the freedom and tools to communicate with each other unhindered can allow your business to build its brand, or obtain very quick feedback on areas it may need to address. Finally, it is important to remember to keep at it. As a general rule, social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn require an update at least twice a week, whereas microblogging sites such as Twitter should be updated at least once a day. DEVELOPING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
  26. 26. For more information visit SingTel Optus Pty Limited ABN 90 052 833 208 trading as Optus Communications, 1 Lyonpark Road, Macquarie Park NSW 2113, Australia. Copyright © 2010. (10/10)