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This year’s report highlights that social media is a great opportunity for many businesses, indeed small and medium businesses that had a social media presence were more likely to see increased business performance.

Social media continues to evolve rapidly, and provides a strong opportunity for businesses that embrace it in a knowledgeable way.

Download the Yellow Social Media Report 2014 here.

This year we found a social media landscape that is marked by two forces, on the one hand, we continue to see the growth that has been the feature of past years, with 69% of the Australian population now on social media. But this year we see a landscape that is also being driven by change, and that change is coming from a different direction.

In 2014 the growth in social media has been predominantly from those in the older age demographics, and this is a trend that will continue to grow in importance in coming years, as the proportion of Australians in these age groups increases. Social media is now well and truly mainstream.

However, while growth is being driven by older age-groups, the change we are seeing is being driven by younger Australians, who are increasingly using new, more visual platforms to connect with each other. While Facebook is still nearly universal amongst younger Australians, over six in ten of those under 20 are now using Snapchat.

This year’s report highlights that social media is a great opportunity for many businesses, indeed small and medium businesses that had a social media presence were more likely to see increased business performance. However, small and medium businesses still lag consumers in their use of social media – while 69% of Australians use social media, only 36% of our small businesses have a presence.

Although businesses have not been as fast in their embrace of social media, consumers are keen to interact with them, and this year’s report found 28% of social media users researching products and services and 33% following brands and businesses. Social media is becoming increasingly important in the path to purchase, and not just in the online world: of those that researched potential purchases through social media, 63% reported that their last research had resulted in a purchase, with just over half of those purchases being made “offline”, through a bricks and mortar store.

Social media does change rapidly, and it is important to make sure that your business is strategic in its social media investment. For small businesses, of the 36% with a social media presence, only 17% measure return on investment and only 24% have a strategy – most investment by small businesses in social media continues to be relatively random in nature, and unmeasured. Investing in social media can provide solid benefits for businesses, so make sure your business plans social media activity that strategically fits with your broader business objectives to get the best value from your social media dollar!

 

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