Consumer Social Media use rising while business use struggling

The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report released today shows a growing divide between the number of businesses and consumers using social media.*

There is no holding back consumer usage which is almost universal among 18-29 year olds at 99 per cent and jumps in the 30-39 age group (up 14 points to 96 per cent) and the 40-49 age group (up 16 points to 86 per cent).

The Report surveyed 1,100 local companies and 800 consumers. It found that while customers are becoming more and more comfortable with businesses engagement on social media, fewer businesses are pursuing it.

There was a small reduction (to 47 per cent) during the past 12 months in SMBs with a social media presence. Large businesses were higher at 60 per cent.

Budgets for social media are dropping across the board and many small businesses not investing in a social strategy at all.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) generally appear to be struggling with social media engagement. Main reasons cited for this were concerns around the investment in time as well as not perceiving benefits for their individual businesses.

Around nine in 10 small (90per cent), medium (87per cent) and large businesses (93per cent) using social media have a Facebook profile.

LinkedIn is used by more than one in three small (35 per cent) and medium (41 per cent) firms but by most large firms (82 per cent). Twitter is the third most popular platform for small businesses (24 per cent).

Nine in 10 large businesses and more than four in 10 SMBs now have a strategy behind their social media investment, with growth in each category.

Despite this, many small and medium businesses are still finding their way:

  • Just over one third of the small firms (34 per cent) and nearly half (45 per cent) the medium firms don’t know how much money they have invested in social media.

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of small businesses and 10 per cent of medium businesses do not have an annual budget for their social media.

  • Almost half allocate 10per cent or less of their marketing budget to social media.

  • Only 23 per cent of small businesses and 20 per cent of medium sized businesses measure their ROI (Return on Investment) on social media.

Social media use growing -- even in the loo.

The opportunities to capture a social media audience are growing, with the shift to mobile meaning more consumers log on throughout their days: 12 per cent of users say they’re on social media while on the toilet, 18 per cent during commuting and 21 per cent during work.

As was the case last year, the Report found 96 per cent of Australians are using social media at home, solid growth in the proportions using social media in the lounge or living room (up from 69 per cent to 84 per cent), bedroom (up from 42 per cent to 59 per cent) and kitchen (up from 22 per cent to 34 per cent).

The most popular location for accessing social media outside the home is on public transport (43 per cent) with usage in the car (37 per cent), at work (35 per cent) and restaurants, bars or parties (33 per cent) not far behind.

Thirty five percent use social media while watching TV, which is four points lower than in 2016.

Facebook remains almost universal (94 per cent) among social media users.

*Social media is defined as Social networking websites, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Online blogs and online rating and review mechanisms.

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