It’s been such a busy few months, I’ve only just read through the the 2015 Sensis Social Media Report which was released earlier this year. The report is full of great stats on how Australian people and businesses are using social media, based on interviews with 800 consumers and 1100 businesses.

Although these statistics are from Australia, there are takeaways in terms of trends for comms and social media people all over the world. 

There are a lot of gems in the report for public sector communications people, here are 27 stats I’ve picked out and what they mean:

How often do Australians use the internet and social media?

  1. 79% of Aussies use the internet every day.
  2. 49% of Aussies use social media every day.
  3. Daily social media use rises to 79% for the 18-29 age group.
  4. 52% of respondents check social media more than 5 times a day.

What does this mean?

These figures underscore how integral social media is in our lives. If your organisation is still not using social, jump up and down and make a big noise, what is holding the decision makers back? Check out my haiku deck Setting up social media: 10 questions for your organisation.

Which social networks are we using?

  1. Facebook is still tops with 93% of Australians using it.
  2. LinkedIn was second on 28% followed by Instagram with 26%.
  3. Surprisingly, Google+ came in fourth on 23%.
  4. Pinterest and Twitter were only used by 17% of respondents.
  5. Being whipped by Google+ isn’t the only bad news for Twitter: of the 14% of people who reported they had stopped using a social network in the last year, 39% of those named Twitter as they one they’d stopped using
  6. Popular with younger demographics, Snapchat came in 6th with 15%.
  7. Pinterest heads up the leaderboard for the average time spent with 17.9 minutes, followed by Facebook on 16.64 minutes and Twitter on 10.14 minutes.

What does this mean?

These stats make very interesting reading as they are very different to figures listed in the Social Media Statistics Australia reports. Google+ fourth? Who would’ve thought it.

So what do they mean? Look for other opportunities: Twitter has been in the mix so long in government, but these figures suggest the public prefer LinkedIn and Instagram. If your organisation is using Twitter a lot but with little engagement, why not give LinkedIn or Insta a go? If you have a big youth project, why not try SnapChat? Don’t understand it? Me neither as I write this, but here’s a fantastic idea on how to force yourself to learn about it.

When and where do people check social media?

  1. Checking social media is popular first thing in the morning (45%), last thing before bed (41%) and after work / in the evening (40%).
  2. Somewhat disturbingly, 14% of people use social media on the toilet.
  3. 72% of respondents socially network in the lounge / living room, followed by the bedroom (43%) and study (35%).
  4. 32% of people use social media at work.

What does this mean?

Use Facebook Insights to further refine when  your audience is online. Post early and post late. Post on weekends. Have strategies in place to deal with any questions or comments.

Think you can ban staff from using social at work? They’re already doing it on their smartphones. If employees in your organisation can’t access social media at work, put up a business case to roll it out. This will show trust in your employees, will encourage them to become more social savvy and also to look at ways to improve communication and engagement opportunities. Your staff on social media also means you have an army of in-house advocates for your posts. Check out the Barrier vaulting section on Best by WM for arguments to counter lack of social media access.

What devices do people own and use?

  1. Laptops are the most owned device in Australia (75%) followed by smartphone (70%), iPad / tablet (55%) and desktop (52%).

What does this mean?

Whether it’s on your own site or not, make sure anything you link to is responsive, that is, able to be viewed across a range of device sizes.  

Why people use social media

  1. Sharing photographs or videos has slumped from 64% last year to 45% this year.
  2. 40% get information on news and current events.
  3. Researching holiday destinations is at 20%.
  4. Engaging with a government rep or department has fallen from 9% to 8% in the last year, however…
  5. In the over 65 age group, this figure is 20%.

What does this mean?

We still have great success at Redland City with crowdsourcing photos from Instagram: over 3500 photos have been tagged with #RedlandsAnyDay in less than 18 months. It’s a great idea for a segment if you haven’t tried it.

Residents value news and current events: make your channels a vital source of information and events for the community.

Do you have your own social channel focused on tourism? There are many fantastic regional Instagram accounts popping up across Australia, many run by councils.

People want to engage with government via social, so allow the public to post on your wall and set up procedures to provide good, timely, helpful customer service.

Advertising on social

  1. Opinion is split on advertising on social networks with 38% happy to see ads and 39% not happy to see them.
  2. Similarly, 42% click on ads while 46% don’t.
  3. 55% of people take no notice of ads on social.
  4. 72% of people ignore sponsored posts from businesses they don’t follow.

What does this mean?

As with anything, you need to play and learn with promoted posts on social media. What works? What doesn’t? Talk to colleagues from other government agencies, try it out yourself. Look for opportunities to measure what you are doing. Selling tickets for a performance or a workshop? Tell people to ring up and say they saw it on Facebook. Do you really need to promote a post or would handing out flyers in the local park target your audience better?

Have a read of Will’s excellent post Why I don’t pay for Facebook boosts… yet.

Review sites

  1. 24% of people provide online ratings on social media networks.
  2. 55% of Aussies read online reviews and blogs.

What does this mean?

Are your facilities, festivals and tourist destinations on Yelp and Trip Advisor? Are you checking the ratings? Better get in there quick and check!

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