Australians are increasingly active participants in social media, with Twitter use growing 400 percent in the past year according to findings from Nielsen’s 2010 Social Media Report.
Nielson’s 2010 Social Media Report, which tracks Internet users’ social media usage, found that ‘sharing’ was the most common social media behaviour, with close to four in five Australian Internet users (78 percent) sending or sharing a photo in the past year and nearly three quarters (74 percent) sending or sharing a link.
The biggest increases in social media behaviours were reading and posting on Twitter, reading wikis and engaging with brands and organisations via social media, including watching online video to support purchase decisions.
Twitter’s audience levels grew by more than 400 percent in 2009 and nearly one quarter of online Australians (23%) read ‘tweets’ in the past year, 14 percent ‘followed’ companies or organisations via Twitter (up from 5% in 2008).
Emphasizing the importance for business, nearly two in five online Australians are now interacting with companies via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
“The opportunities for brands and companies to tap into the social media phenomenon are really just beginning to emerge and to date we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” states Melanie Ingrey, Research Director for Nielsen’s online business.
“Incredibly, nearly nine in ten Australian Internet users (86 percent) are looking to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands, and Australians’ engagement with online word of mouth communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making.”
Facebook dominates the online social networking space, with three quarters of Australian Internet users (75 percent) reporting to have visited Facebook in the last year. Moreover, 83 percent of social networkers name Facebook as their main social networking platform, up from 72 percent in 2008 and 34 percent in 2007.
“For now, the battle of the social networking sites has clearly been won, and Facebook has proven its dominance by providing valuable and compelling content that has users spending more than eight hours a month on the site,” observes Ingrey.