Should small business be more social? Absolutely

Posted: 9/01/2012ICreated by: Paul Sideridis

Social media is the new word of mouth, with Australia following USA and UK trends.

And this transformation seems to have literally happened overnight.

Part of the reason is a dramatic increase in the use of tablets and smart phones in this country. Mobile internet penetration here has reached 50%, while 73% of Australians online are now using social media.

This has huge repercussions for any business.

Why? Once upon a (less interactive) time, customers might have talked about their positive or negative experiences of a business to 10 or so friends.

Now social media lets them tell 1000+ people almost instantaneously.

And that means a few clicks from a mobile phone can, and likely will, impact public opinion and affect your bottom line.

Some quick stats:
  • Christmas period shopping-related searches on Google by Australian users increase 36% year on year. 
  • Forrester Research forecasts Social Media spend for the US will show the 2nd highest growth behind mobile marketing. 
  • PayPal Australia recently reported that 10% of its 3.6 million active customers used a mobile device to complete transactions in the last quarter of 2010. 
  • IBISWorld expects Australian online sales to grow by 10.2% in 2012. 
  • In august 2011 Sensis survey found 62% of online Australians use social media (less than six months later, this is now at 73%), while only 14% of small businesses, 25% of medium businesses and 50% of large businesses have a social media presence.
criticone social media monitoring

Take into account the fast rate by which mobile media and technologies are fuelling social, e-commerce and on-the-move research, and these figures have probably already grown exponentially.

The message is clear. Your potential customers are tapping into social media right now to discuss your brand with other consumers.

They’re using online media to source instant opinions about your services and products. And these opinions are not only affecting their buying decisions. Google has also recently indicated these social signals will increasingly impact where your site is ranked in search results.

It all goes to show that every business should include a social media strategy in their marketing campaigns. If you’re not doing this already, you’re turning your back on a growing percentage of potential customers.

But how do you begin? Tools like criticone® are a great place to start. They help you monitor the frequently changing landscape of consumer comments and sentiments online.

By actively monitoring social media sites, criticone® makes it easy to respond sooner to positive or negative consumer comments and maintain control of your brand reputation.

Even if you’re not using social media to market your business, criticone® can keep you abreast of what’s happening with your competitors, or which keywords and topics are trending.

It tracks, measures and reports on your search presence as a whole so you can respond in real time to consumer needs or desires with new business initiatives or products.

criticone® allows you to understand how both your own business and your competitors are positioned in search engines and social media as changes happen.

And, in an age of interactive technologies, that kind of information is priceless.

In part 2 of this article, we’ll dive further into the world of social media and offer some tips on how to turn this new form of communication to your business advantage.

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Robinson    |    March 09, 2012
You are spot on correct in your analysis of importance. I would say the solution is more complex. The idea of a credible presences centers on the idea of frequency, reach and engagement with engagement defined as the quality of your effort as perceived by your audience. This idea of engagement is a term dujour for marketing; however in practice most companies fail miserably at it. But as your post details, it is this engagement that matters. In addressing this, companies must focus on the development of a strong content marketing strategy. While social media networks, in combination with reach results, matter, they all rely on quality content. And as you intelligently point out, the quality of content is now magnified not by a single channel, but through the amplification on all channels.
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