The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media

BELCHATOW POLAND - MAY 02 2013: Modern white keyboard with colored social network buttons.

Whether you’re new to social media or just looking to close a few knowledge gaps, we’re glad you stopped by. By now, we’ve all heard how valuable—even essential—social media can be. Whether your current sentiment leans more toward enthusiasm or trepidation, there’s no way around the fact that social media is a far more complex field than it first seems. Diving in without a sense for what it’s like can be overwhelming, and building a network that provides real value takes both savvy and hard work, but fear not—we’re here to help! We hope you’ll find this to be one of the most comprehensive social media resources available, and that no matter what your skill level is, there’s plenty in here to help you improve your social presence. What are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

What is social media?

“Social media” is a way for people to communicate and interact online. While it has been around since the dawn of the World Wide Web, in the last 10 years or so we’ve seen a surge in both the number and popularity of social media sites. It’s called social media because users engage with (and around) it in a social context, which can include conversations, commentary, and other user-generated annotations and engagement interactions.

Publishing content has become exponentially simpler over the last several years, which has helped skyrocket the use of social media. Non-technical web users are now able to easily create content on a rapidly growing number of platforms, including those that are owned (hosted communities, blogs, etc.), rented (social networks or third-party communities), and occupied (commenting, contributing, etc.). Today’s web has shifted from a “one-to-many” to a “many-to-many” method of engagement, and we love it. For businesses, the shift in web consumerism and accompanying rise in social media brings both opportunity and responsibility. The sheer amount of data that customers make available through social media alone has web marketers jumping for joy. The real magic, however, lies in the opportunity to grow lasting and scale able relationships with your organization’s customer base through social media. This is also where your online responsibility to your customers begins to take shape. Just as your customers’ behavior has shifted, so have their expectations for yours. Whether your business is listening and engaging or not, customers are having conversations relevant to your operations. It’s better to be part of the conversation, right? We sure think so!

Is social media just a fad?

Over the last several years, there has been an explosion of growth in popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and many others. It’s safe to say that the era of social media is just getting started, and the need for social media in business will only become stronger over time. The whole world has seen the impact of the expansion and adoption of social media tactics, and the rising stats speak for themselves.

How can social be a springboard for success in other marketing channels?

 Keep in mind that neither your customers’ experience nor your brand starts with Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Social media should take your existing brand and solidify it, galvanize it, and bolster it. Your efforts in social media should be an extension of everything else you do in all departments of your company. Capturing your company’s voice and sharing it with the world through social media will open up unique opportunities in all other channels of inbound marketing, including SEO, branding, public relations, sales, and more, channels of inbound marketing, including SEO, branding, public relations, sales, and more.

Relationships

To get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom-line, ROI-seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute. The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish.

Feedback

Information can be shared through social media at an amazingly fast pace, and users are increasingly turning to social channels to share information in real-time. This information often takes the form of opinions, so if you’re listening for the right cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable source of insights and feedback. Incorporating social listening into product development work can act as an early warning system, save on customer service costs, provide valuable development feedback, and even help identify ideal beta testers without much expense.

Integration

Social media is not something you can simply “tack on” to the rest of your marketing, branding, PR, and advertising efforts; it needs to be a fully integrated part of the mix. In doing so, you can create a cohesive and scalable experience for your customers. Think of it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Also, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Be sure to integrate social media into your marketing efforts as early as possible to help amplify and solidify your work rather than waiting until the end of a planning cycle to explore social options. If a social presence is clear from the start, your branding will benefit from additional customer touch-points, PR will see a lift in impressions and reach, and customer service can proactively listen and activate where necessary.

As you can see, a social presence can have far-reaching impact for your organization when it is executed in an authentic and thoughtful manner. By making social engagement a core part of your operations rather than an afterthought, you have a better shot at fully leveraging its power.

 

Australian businesses and social media

Proportion of businesses that have a social media presence

More businesses now have a social media presence than has previously been recorded. Forty eight percent of small businesses, 54% of medium                businesses and 79% of large businesses are now on social media. Facebook continues to be the most popular platform by far, with LinkedIn and              Twitter relatively prominent, particularly in medium and large businesses where Instagram and YouTube are also common. Other platforms do not       have widespread appeal, although almost one in five large businesses use Google+. Four percent of small businesses, 2% of medium sized businesses     and 2% of large businesses claimed to have removed a social media presence this year. The main reasons were that it required too much time or that      there was no return on their investment. Seventeen percent of small businesses not currently using social media anticipate adding a presence in the       next year. This is also true for 13% of medium sized businesses and 29% of large businesses.   Those with no intention primarily said they don’t see a   benefit to their business from using social media.

 

   Path to purchase

Among the 14% who use social media platforms to research something they want to buy, holiday, travel and accommodation stood out (21%). There were also double figure mentions for clothing and fashion (12%) and appliances or electrical equipment (11%). However, as indicated in the previous section, clothing and  fashion are being researched far less through social media than in the past two years. Now such research via a mobile device has
clearly overtaken the computer. Purchases increased to 59% (from 49% last year) but they had been higher in 2014 at 63%. There has been a gradual increase since 2013 in the proportion who made their purchase online, from 50% to 71%.

Advertising on social networking sites

Attitudes towards advertising on social media remain polarised in a number of respects. There are still over a third of people who are happy to see ads (34%, was 38% in 2015) and over four in ten click on them occasionally to find out more (43%, was 42%). It is still the case that a slight majority (53%) take no notice of such ads, but this has come down from 69% in 2014 and 55% last year. Likewise, most ignore sponsored posts from businesses they don’t follow, but this incidence has fallen from 72% to 67%. A new statement included this survey reveals that over four in ten will inspect a brand’s social media presence before making an online purchase if they had not previously purchased from that brand’s website. Most importantly 43% click on ads on social sites to get more information.

Australian social media statistics and what it means to your business

Australians and social media

As consumers become increasingly fragmented in how they engage with both traditional and social media, it is apparent businesses must quickly adapt
their presence online to establish and nurture new communities and connect with them in authentic ways.

Almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day (and up to 79% for the 18-29 age group), yet only 31% of SME businesses actively operate a social media engagement strategy.  Ratings and reviews should be a major focus for businesses online. They can play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction and retention, with 62% of people open to changing their opinion of a business if it responds to negative feedback on social media.

Australians continue to embrace technology through use of multiple internet enabled devices. The average Australian owns three such devices with laptops (75%), smartphones (70%) and tablets (55%) most prevalent. The way we connect continues to evolve with social media still playing a significant role in many people’s lives. 68% of internet users have a social media profile and they mainly use it to catch up with friends and family. It’s becoming more prevalent in our daily lives as a majority (70%) are using their smartphone to access it (mainly through an app). Hence it is not surprising that the frequency of use is increasing – 24% check in more than 5 times a day which is up from 19% – but overall use appears to have plateaued as there has been no growth in social media use relative to last year when 69% had a social media profile.

Facebook continues to dominate the social media space, capturing 93% of users and they spend an average of eight and a half hours a week on the site. Quite a few have profiles on LinkedIn (28%), Instagram (26%) and Google+ (23%) with use of each platform continuing to grow.

Social media is a forum which is generally used for browsing and many consumers check in to keep their ‘finger on the pulse’, giving them a real time perspective of what is happening around them. This provides businesses with huge potential to engage and interact with the public.

From a commercial perspective, a solid minority of Australians who use this media follow brands and businesses (32%), access offers and promotions (20%) or conduct research about products and services they want to buy (19%) which means they are willing to engage. In fact, half of those who are using social media to research products and services said they made a purchase and two thirds of them made that purchase online.

Therefore, it remains paramount for businesses and marketers to establish a connection by engaging with them in a meaningful way if they want to capitalise on this opportunity.

 

How to Generate API Key, Consumer Token, Access Key for Twitter OAuth

After Twitter has closed the access to version 1.0 of API, we all are pushed to change the Latest Tweets widget and Twitter Follower counter widget settings in order to make it work with Twitter API version 1.1.

To make things straight, you have to create a Twitter application to generate Twitter API Keys, Access Token and secret keys and so on.
Creating a Twitter Application

Create-Twitter-API-Key

To use Twitter counter widget and other Twitter related widgets, you need OAuth access keys. To get Twitter Access keys, you need to create Twitter Application which is mandatory to access Twitter.

Go to https://dev.twitter.com/apps/new and log in, if necessary
Enter your Application Name, Description and your website address. You can leave the callback URL empty.
Accept the TOS, and solve the CAPTCHA.
Submit the form by clicking the Create your Twitter Application
Copy the consumer key (API key) and consumer secret from the screen into your application

Create Your Access Token for OAuth

Twitter-OAuth-Settings

After creating your Twitter Application, you have to give the access to your Twitter Account to use this Application. To do this, click the Create my Access Token.
Get the Consumer Key, Consumer Secret, Acess token, Access Token Secret

Twitter-OAuth-Access-tokens

In order to access the Twitter, that is to get recent tweets and twitter followers count, you need the four keys such as Consumer Key, Consumer Secret, Acess token, Access Token Secret.

Theme-Options-page

To get all these keys, click the OAuth Tool tab in your Twitter Application and copy those keys and paste in our Theme Options page. That’s it. Now Your Twitter counter will get the followers count and display them in your widget.

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