What is social media and should you care?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, it wasn’t all that long ago, when a simple ad in the paper would do the trick and the phone would start to ring and people would walk through your door. It was a lot simpler in many ways, ‘pre social’, there weren’t as many areas we needed to – show up.
Today, its a whole different ball game with the likes of social media and digital marketing in general.
1993 was the first big shift in consumer marketing, with the web becoming mainstream for both us, your everyday Joe and Jane, and businesses.
On the social media front, it was actually Linkedin that started the social media bandwagon, back in 2002. Which was 9 years after the internet explosion. Facebook followed Linkedin in 2004, and 6 years after that, Instagram was born (2010). There are loads more I could mention here, but these are a just a couple of platforms I’ve mentioned to make this a little more relatable.
Now, this may be considered a dumb question, but you would be surprised how many people get this wrong.
What is social media?
Officially, social media is “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate
technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio.”
It’s also a fancy shmancy way to describe the gazillions of conversations people are having online, 24/7, about everything and anything.
For businesses, social media is a platform for branding, it’s a way of engaging with all kinds of consumers and even collaborating with other brands and businesses. It’s a way of informing people about what you do, the services you provide, its a way of educating them on all sorts of things, from how we hear, to types, and levels of hearing loss to hearing aid technology that could benefit them in specific situations, to the immediate actions required should someone experience sudden hearing loss. Social media is a lead generator, a place to buy and sell.
Social media is a connection and is a vehicle for communication – no matter the message, product or service – to anyone – anywhere on the planet. That’s what social media is.
The next really important question?
Why the hell should I care?
Well, there are a number of reasons why you should care. I’ve picked out the top 5 for you.
As of January this year, almost 80% of the Australian population were recorded as active social media users compared to just 58% in 2015. It’s pretty clear from this graph that we have seen a continued upward trend over the last 6 years.
Because 93% of Aussie social media users believe a business should have a presence – on social media. Why do you think that is? Why should people care if you’re on social media or not? This is just my take, but I believe that it’s because it validates your brand, your product or service. When you take the time to educate, inform, engage and communicate with people, it builds trust and credibility.
Because 33% of Australians state they use social media when looking for information about a brand – which is you…. and me*. I have no doubt this will increase substantially. Either way, still a third of Australians today use social media to research brands, products and services.
Because in recent years, the proportion of Australian businesses with a social media presence has reached record levels, with more than half of small businesses (51%)^ and medium businesses (58%)^ having a social profile. Plus, large businesses have jumped from 60% to 85%^ of them having social profiles.
Let’s just take a minute here and have a think about what this is telling us. Just over half of all small businesses in Australia, and almost 60% of all medium business have a social media profile. Meaning they are signed up and have a profile on let’s say, Facebook and/or Instagram. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are active or use it well, but they do have a profile and a presence.
85% of larger Australian businesses have social media profiles, and because of budgets and resource – are likely to manage their social media quite well.
If social media isn’t currently part of your marketing mix, you don’t have a voice – at all – in this space. If you have a social media profile, but don’t value it, don’t invest in it and don’t actively work with it, then your competitors, large, small or medium have an advantage.
^Source: 2017-2018 Yellow a Division of Sensis
Because social media is like ‘word of mouth’ on steroids!
In all my years of experience across industries, I know that word of mouth referrals are still the number 1 lead generator and is identified as the most valuable form of marketing – the one that customers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive enquiries, appointments and sales for your business.
Social media is becoming one of THE – top referral pathways for many businesses.
All it takes is a ‘share.’
These are the reasons why you should give a brass razoo about social media.