This report analyses the current state of the social media in Australia and its potential use by business. The purpose of this paper is to describe the role of new media in developing the Australian business. It characterizes the present status of the social media in the Australian Internet. Further, it describes the differences between the social media platforms for potential engagement. The paper also contains the analysis of benefits and threats of using a particular social platform. It provides the potential tactics of the social engagement and provides a brief overview of the ethical issues, privacy and social governance initiatives.

New Media Scoping Report

Introduction

New media is the term that unites different forms of electronics using the computer technology, such as web sites, e-mails, mobile computing, etc. This tern is used in contrast to to the term “old media”, which describes the traditional form of media, such as TV and print newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, businesses should adapt to online mode using new social media since their customers become increasingly engaged in it. It is evident that social media space allows better interaction between businesses and customers. Thus, social networks are effective resources for businesses of all sizes that can be used for promoting their brands online. However, some of the businesses miss this opportunity and do not enjoy the benefits of the social media. The companies that began to use new media should create an appropriate strategy and invest their time, finance and labor resources in its implementation. Despite the importance of using the social media, it is unnecessary to promote the business in every existent network. For this reason, the most reasonable option for the company is to choose the network that works best for the business.

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The State of Play of New Media in Australia

Social media presence of the Australian business is still not as pronounced as is the case with consumers. According to the Sensis Social Media Report1, only 33% of businesses have their social network profiles as compared to 68% of consumers. Furthermore, an important observation for the retail business was made by the Digital industry association of Australia; according to it, the most preferable device for making purchases is personal computer (PC) since almost 93% of the respondents are using their PC to shop online. The Digital industry association of Australia2 also states that almost 70% of the consumers do not mind to receive personalized advertising on their PC, tablet or mobile phone. In addition, according to the Sensis Social Media Report, about a half of the Australian consumers access social media every day. On the other hand, only 31% of the Australian small and medium enterprises actively use social media1. On the average, Australian consumers spend the full working day each week on Facebook, especially in the morning time and before going to bed1. Along with that, during the last year, the consumers’ activity in places away from their homes has increased from 21% to 32%, i.e. at work, transit or restaurants and cafes. As a result, the average time spent on social media networks per hour in Australia is 14 minutes3.

Potential Platforms for Engagement

Broad Overview of the Platforms

Platforms for social media marketing contain a variety of different web sites, with big social numbers. For example, researchers distinguish the big four of social platforms, which are the most popular among the users all over the world. Thereby, the big four of social platforms includes Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.

The first social platform is Facebook. It is a social network created in 2004. Nowadays, it has almost 1.04 billion daily active users on average, among which there are almost 934 million mobile daily active users.

Twitter is the second popular social platform. For many businesses, it has become a brand loyalty platform since, according to the researchers4, 85% of Twitter users “feel more connected” to a business after following them on Twitter. In addition, an average Twitter user has a huge potential as a market segment since he or she spends about 170 minutes on Twitter a day4.

LinkedIn is a social network for B2B marketing, which has more that 270 million users4. Many of those users are closely connected to companies, which could benefit from extra marketing.

Today, Google+ is playing a dominant role in online social interaction. Researchers found that Google+ is an important factor of the social collaboration through Hangouts4.
It is necessary to consider the Lesser Three of the social media platforms, which includes Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

The first of the Lesser Three is Pinterest. Last year, it has become a more popular sharing platform than e-mail4. In addition, it has highest revenue per click as compared to other social sharing networks.

Instagram is a visual platform, which has become a powerful way for promoting both personal and business brands, since likes and comments on photos are a good way to create the massive following.

YouTube is a platform for video sharing, which has become the second largest search engine in the world4. Indeed, it attracts more adults than any TV show4.

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Description of the Chosen Platform

Facebook was chosen as the most appropriate social platform for a business to use. Nowadays, it has over 1.04 billion users5, which makes it the largest social network in the world. At the same time, its users show a high level of online activity since they spend about 18 minutes per Facebook visit. An average Facebook user is connected to 80 groups, pages, or events. Thereby, this platform can be used as an effective instrument for communication between business and its customers.

Analysis of Suitability for Task

Benefits

Using Facebook has both benefits and threats. The main benefit is that it has a reach targeted audience among its billion of users. A business is able to direct its ads to target customers choosing the range of filters, such as location, preferable, tastes, gender, age, etc. This makes the advertising more targeted compared with the outdoor or TV advertising.

The next benefit is the low cost. For example, it is free to start a Facebook business page. Of course, the company can pay a graphic designer and pager managers, but those costs are comparatively low or even optional. In addition, Facebook allows a company to spend minimum $1 per day on its targeted advertising, which covers 1 thousand of users or more. In contrast to the traditional print, radio or TV ads, it is relatively inexpensive.

Another benefit of using Facebook is that is helps building the brand loyalty in case the company’s followers see that it is active and responsive. Thereby, frequent updates and consumer-oriented policy can raise brand awareness and promote positive word-of-mouth. For example, the company can increase the popularity of its business’s profile on Facebook by encouraging customers to click the ‘Like’ button on their Facebook page. In case they do it, they start receiving the updates of the business page on their wall and even share this information with their friends. In addition, the company’s customers can post positive or negative messages and comments about the products or services. This helps establish the appropriate feedback as well as understand the customers’ demands.

Furthermore, using Facebook can help drive traffic to the company’s website. It can be done though including an appropriate line on the Facebook page. Visitors who come to the company’s website through its Facebook page are likely to be more receptive than an average web site visitor. This can be explained by the fact that consumers are more motivated to click the website link since they already know something about the company.

Sharing pictures and videos from the company’s business can become a powerful way to communicate with the existing and potential customers. This is accounted by the fact that pictures and videos allow customers to take a look at the company’s products or services. In addition, posting and receiving messages helps communicate with the existing and potential customers6.

Threats

Despite of the benefits that Facebook suggests for a business, evidently, it is not enough to make people like the company’s page. The possibility that one day, Facebook will disappear still exists. For this reason, it is important to ensure that using a Facebook page will provide a long-term and sustainable business. In order to avoid the potential loss of all company’s followers on Facebook, it is necessary to create a connection with them outside Facebook, for example, by gathering their e-mails though questionnaires or website.

Identification of Possible Tactics

Previous Tactics

Previous tactics of an average business in the area of social media use could possibly look the following way. The first mistake of many companies is buying followers. Most of those followers have fake profiles. Therefore, the company is not able to reach real people. Another mistake consists in the fact that the company does not pay much attention to the effective communication with the customers. For example, if there is a negative comment on its Facebook page, the company’s managers can just delete it without any response to the customer. This creates a negative impression that the company is not trying to become better for its customers. Thereby, the new tactics should be provided.

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New Tactics

According to the new tactics, quizzes should be used in order to create a portfolio of the company’s average customer since quizzes are the most engaging type of content on Facebook. According to the Kissmetrics research, an average quiz has 51,968 total Facebook shares. On the other hand, an average article has only 15,527 total Facebook shares. The researchers believe that such popularity of quizzes is based on the fact that it feeds the ego and strengthens the identity of Facebook users. For example, when a Facebook user shares the results of the quiz with his or her friends, it gives them a hint into what he is interested in.

The next tactic is using 2000-2500 words for an article on Facebook. This fact is also based on the Kissmetrics research. The company has found that articles that contain 2000-2500 words are shared best on Facebook. For example, such articles have an average of 7846.8 shares, which is 15% greater than articles that have less than 500 words and 24% greater than articles comprising 500-1000 words.

Further, the length of a company’s video on Facebook should range from 4 minutes to 4 minutes and 20 seconds. This figure is also based on the Kissmetrics research, according to which the videos with such length have an average number of 79,859 total Facebook shares, which was the highest result. In addition, the research has found that long videos are more popular than short ones.

Organizing the after sale work process is an important part of the new tactics. For example, Buffer is a media publishing app8 that helps pre-program posts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It can simply integrate with the other apps, which make the most useful social media tools. For example, it is easy to share interesting articles on Facebook and program their appearance in the news feed just by clicking the Buffer icon. In such a way, the company pre-composes posts related to the type of content that it usually posts.

Managing Media Relations in New Media

There are several aspects that should be improved in social media managing. First of all, in order to effectively manage the media relations in new media, the company managers need to create a plan and follow it. For example, they need to set a number of posts that should be published per day or per week. A good tool for organizing the team work for publishing posts is a Google Excel Docs app. By using this app, it is possible to create a weekly calendar separated by the social channel and provided with columns for co-workers within the content.

The next step for managing the new media is creating a share-button under the article or press-release on the company’s web site. It will help extend the message via social sharing because people could use it to share an interesting article or important information among their friends9. Another way of presenting data is infographics, which is drawn images that explain the text. Such posts are easy to read, and the company’s followers may prefer to share those images via the Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

The company should also use its social network profiles to build a strong relationship with its customers. For example, it should respond to customers’ questions or react to their propositions. Otherwise, lack of communication will destroy the trust. Thereby, delivering a thoughtful response in a timely manner will strengthen the company’s integration with its customers.

Ethics, Privacy and Social Governance

Ethical Issues

Nowadays, ethical issues that relate to social media use are receiving a great deal of attention. These issues are based on the need of customers’ protectionism in social networks since there are threats of receiving false information or facing privacy protection issues. For this reason, businesses should provide transparent communication since their dishonest claims or untruthful derogatory comments can endanger the long-term reputation of the company11. This issue has become especially contentious with the appearance of the free access to the advertising tools, which some companies may use in order to manipulate the customers. This issue is also related to the misrepresentation of the company’s’ expertise, credential, and affiliations. For example, reputation of some reliable companies can be damaged by fake stories of consumers about their products11. On the other hand, some companies may use fake accounts by hiring people to leave favorable comments or fabricate stories about the company in order to create a positive image among the customers. In any case, these steps are unethical.

Privacy Initiatives

A company should respect the privacy of others including its followers on Facebook and its employees. In order to accomplish this, the company’s managers should do their best to get their consent before sharing a comment, post, picture, or video about them11. For this reason, the company’s privacy policy should consider protection of certain information about individuals. Further, quoting someone else’s work on the company’s Facebook page should use only short excerpts and credit the original author/source. A good practice to avoid accusation of plagiarism is to link to someone’s work rather than reproduce it. Another example is to embed someone’s tweet rather than posting a screenshot of it. In addition, the company should respect the authors’ rights in terms of music, photo and video. Therefore, its managers should always post an author’s name under the photo, video or soundtrack used in their corporative video.

Social Governance

Social governance strategy should be based on the fact that all company’s employees understand that opinions or personal information they disclose about themselves or colleagues on their Facebook profiles can be also linked to the company. In such a way, every employee should customize the privacy settings on Facebook to determine what he or she shares and with whom12. The company’s staff should also be aware that the opinions they express may damage the company’s reputation. Thus, its employees must avoid declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum. They also should refrain from taking part in organized actions in support of causes or movements.

Along with that, it is necessary to quickly correct the mistaken posts since they also can damage the company’s reputation. This can be applied to any other posts related to the company in the personal accounts of its employees12. In order to correct the mistake, the company’s managers can post information that explains the mistake as quickly as possible. Such incidents underline
the reality of the social media since every staff member can take on the role of the PR manager, even without understanding it.

Conclusion

Consequently, new media is creating an absolutely original space for business. Despite the fact that Australian business is poorly presented on social media platforms, it has huge potential for development in this area. This is explained by the fact that Australian consumers begin to spend more and more time on the social platforms. Among the potential platforms for business engagement, the Big Four and Less Three should be considered. The first group of platforms contains Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. The second group of platforms contains Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube. Among these social networks, Facebook was chosen as the most appropriate platform for business engagement. The sustainability analysis proves that Facebook has a list of benefits, such as reach targeted audience, low costs for advertising, close connection with the customers. The possible tactics of using the Facebook contains the requirement to the length of posts, videos, and using of additional social tools for after-sales process. It should be considered that a company also can face some ethical issues in its social media activity. For this reason, some privacy and social governance initiatives should be implemented in order to cope with the ethics issues.

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