Working The Social Angle

In our latest report, eMarketingConnected lifts the lid on the social media habits of Australia’s largest 500 organisations, providing a benchmark for organisations across the country still struggling to come to grips with how to use their social media channels.

Social media might be a hot topic, but this report is the first of its kind in Australia. Comprehensive and broad, the report takes a long, hard look at the realities of social media usage in top Australian businesses. Each organisation studied was analysed against more than 40 points of data, including such metrics as the number of followers, volume and type of updates, engagement levels and what they are using social media for.

Underpinning this research is a timely drive to understand how Australian brands are using social media, which social media platforms they use and what the results have been in terms of consumer engagement.

Surprisingly, despite social media being an important part of integrated marketing for many organisations, less than half of the largest Australian organisations are using each of the social channels studied—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. In fact, only 12% of the 500 organisations studied use all four of these social networks and 31% are not using social media at all. Of the organisations using the four networks, the most popular with followers are Telstra, Optus, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Myer, Monash University and the University of Sydney.

Director of eMarketingConnected, Peter Paterson, explained, “The integration of social media into overall marketing strategies can help organisations reveal the nature of prospective customers, including their preferences, behaviour and the social media channels they use.”

The social media channel drawing the most consumer attention is Facebook, but 2% of the companies studied hold a whopping 49% (2.2m) of the total number of Facebook followers identified for the report.

Mr Paterson continued, “This tells us that only a handful of the top 500 organisations are really leveraging their social media skills and strategies, but those companies that get it right are capturing the attention and engagement of their customers.”

Lagging behind are B2B businesses where the benefits of social media engagement are not always apparent as quickly as they are in the B2C field. As a result, B2B businesses can lose momentum when it comes to their own social marketing activity. An exception to this is PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a B2B organisation that has captured a strong social media following by using social channels diversely to engage businesses via polls, provocative questions and engaged response to consumer feedback.

The standout sectors that seem to be pioneering social media integration are the communications and education industries, followed by publishing, retail food, wholesale machinery and wholesale goods. All are using Twitter and Facebook for multiple purposes including customer service, providing general and company information and communicating any promotions.

Interestingly, Facebook has three times more followers than the three other channels combined. Delving further into the data also shows that there are five times more people following brands on Facebook than there are following brands on Twitter. And while more brands use LinkedIn to keep their customers informed, brands using Twitter have more followers.

Mr Paterson commented on this, “This shows us that it’s not just about covering your bases as far as social media platforms are concerned. It’s also about revealing the behaviour and preferences of your customers so you can refine your approach.”