Many will argue that if your brand isn’t on social, you’re obsolete. But is that really true? Perhaps Canadians are in need of a social media reality check.
Leger Marketing teamed up with McMaster MCM for its third wave of research data on Canadian’s uses and attitudes towards social media. Presented by Dave Scholz, Managing Partner of Leger 360 and Alex Sévigny, PhD, APR, Director of the MCM Program at McMaster University, the study shone a light on new and useful data for Canadian PR and marketers who want to gain a competitive edge in social media marketing. Presented at a recent CPRS Toronto event, here are a few of their findings:
Only 71% of Canadians are on social media today
Scholz and Sévigny found that while many Canadians presume that everyone is on social media that simply isn’t the case. It has jumped significantly since 2011, where only 56% of Canadians used social media. Why the jump? Smartphones have become the norm when it comes to mobile devices and more smartphones means more accessibility.
Scholz and Sévigny stressed the fact that Canadian social media use does not fluctuate between age groups, rather, it’s dependent on socioeconomic status.
Facebook stays on top
Of those 71% of Canadian social media users, 90% of them are on Facebook. While Twitter is often the favoured platform for PR and marketers, it has somewhat flatlined around 40%. Communicators tend to gravitate towards Twitter because of its openness and immediacy, but the popularity in Facebook signal a need for relationship management online. Facebook users need to be nurtured, so make sure you have an engaged presence on the platform.
Multimedia-based platforms continue to rise
Professional communicators understand the power of multimedia. When releases include one piece of multimedia, their visibility grows 195%. Social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest continue to see steady growth amongst Canadians and this will continue to rise in the future. “It’s all about the pictures,” said Sévigny.
Social media increases loyalty and trust
When it comes to loyalty, 30% of Canadians are more loyal to companies they can deal with on social media. Furthermore, 1/3 of those surveyed believe that companies engaged in social media have a better reputation. It’s clear that simply being present on social media is not enough; each platform demands relationship building and maintenance. “Canadians are also more trusting of organizations that are engaged in social media,” said Scholz. Building trust is a primary job for PR practitioners, so don’t discount the value of social media, especially when a crisis strikes.
Social media is a daily practice
Frequency of use was also measured and in 2015, with 62% of Canadian social media users admitting to being active on them more than once a day. But perhaps what was more interesting was the decrease in infrequent use. Considering the margin of error in studies, Sévigny pointed to the fact that virtually no one uses social media just weekly or monthly anymore. So if your brand plans to be on social media, note that your online audience is actively using their accounts quite frequently. Keep that in mind when creating and sharing content.
So what are the major drivers of PR and marketing success? According to Scholz and Sevigny, it really comes down to four things: relationships, trust, credibility and culture. These are traits that can be achieved and amplified through social media.What do you find fascinating about social media use? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @CNWGroup.