75% of adults use social networks – here’s how to tap into them

75% of adults use social networks – here’s how to tap into them

A new report reveals 75% of Australian adults online now use social networking technologies – and marketers need to adapt quickly to keep up.

The Australian Adult Social Technographics Revealed report, published by Forrester Research, also says marketers must create content that specifically applies to the behaviour of niche online demographics.

It reveals only 25% of Australian online adults are “inactives”, untouched by social networking content. Another 25% create their own content such as blog posts, while 50% are members of a social network.

“With such a fundamental shift in how Australians use media, marketers must rethink their strategies,” the report says. “As a small, developed market that makes heavy use of social technologies, Australia is the perfect launchpad for global brands adopting social marketing tactics.

“Australian online adults who use social media are more likely to be university educated, well paid, and working full time than ‘inactives’. In other words, they are Australian professionals and are regular social participants.”

But Forrester senior analyst Steven Noble says when marketers develop social marketing tools, they need to decide on their objectives before picking a specific technology.

“One of the great mistakes is starting by saying, ‘hey, we need a blog’, when really that is the end of the planning process and so much stuff has to come first. Select your objective, develop a strategy and then pick a technology,” he says.

“The first and most important thing is to understand the specific social technology usage patterns of a particular market and audience.”

The report points to five separate major demographics – professionals, baby boomers, geeks, women, and Generation-Y.

“The next step is to select your objective. What is your reason for using social technologies. Do you want to understand Gen-Y, for instance? That means you want to listen to them. Do you want to talk to them, or is your goal supporting them? Do they use your products, have a bad experience and you want to give them tools?” Noble says.

“Are you hoping to give Gen-Y the opportunity to have conversations with each other, or do you simply want to improve your process by having them on board as part of your development team?”

The report also recommends picking specific strategies for demographics based on behaviour. For baby boomers, it suggests creating meaningful content as they do not create much themselves. But the report also shows 32% of women contribute to forums, so marketers should focus on connectivity and relationship-based social networking for females.

Noble also says the report shatters assumptions marketers may have about which demographics use social media. He suggests thinking about certain demographics in different ways, rather than dismissing them altogether.

“Some marketers may assume that baby boomers are not engaged with social media, but the report finds they are. They are engaged by being spectators. They may not often contribute, but they are watching. You’d be foolish to turn them into a group of content creators but you can certainly speak to them and expect to be heard.”

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