how has social media altered the australian business landscape?

In 2020, it’s almost impossible to dissect where a business’ social media starts and ends, with this powerful channel now such a critical part of the operational mix. Now more than ever, social media is the preferred format in which to engage, educate and establish an identity. Now, that’s not to say that this is necessarily positive, but it can be if you play by the rules. If you are reviewing your digital presence and hoping to dip your toe into the social media world, let’s look at how it has altered the Australian business landscape and what you need to consider to wield this channel to your advantage.

Social media can create or crumple a business

Don’t be fooled by the low barrier to entry, because social media is no walk in the park and has been the vehicle which has ousted some of the most controversial events in recent Australian news, with businesses not always coming out the hero either. Let’s dissect the outcome of the Folau feud against Rugby Australia and Qantas. Employment lawyer, Alan McDonald, has suggested that despite the public push to have Folau fired for his actions, Rugby Australia might actually be liable for that decision. This shows the significant pressure that social media wields, with business’s putting themselves in a legal grey area for the sake of staying in the graces of their online audience. McDonald Murholme lawyers and internal legal counsel teams have to provide a strong footing for businesses trying to navigate the correct legal path on social media while staying true to their unique brand. 

THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS THAT THE BUSINESS LANDSCAPE HAS SHIFTED WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA, ALTHOUGH PUBLIC IMAGE, TRANSPARENCY AND COMMUNICATION ARE PERHAPS THE MOST IMPACTFUL. CONSIDER HOW SOCIAL MEDIA HAS AND WILL IMPACT YOUR OWN BUSINESS, AND UNDERESTIMATE ITS POWER AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Transparency is king

All of us would like to believe ourselves to be transparent and honest, but this isn’t always what we see in the business landscape. Social media, to its credit, has set a precedent to be honest with an audience as the alternative is to be inauthentic or to have your own following asking the questions and deciding the facts for themselves. We can see businesses use transparency to their advantage through open interviews on Facebook Live and IGTV, as well as thought-provoking posts on LinkedIn which explore change and improvement. 

With social media moving as fast as it does, exposing us to new brands and ideas, it is this transparency that is getting cut-through and turning an audience into advocates. The underpayment saga that unfolded in Australian headlines (which involves Bunnings, Commonwealth, Woolworths and more) was an example of this trend, with the businesses who were more forthright with information and detail being branded responsible, despite them committing the same faux pas as the businesses that were less open. 

Communication has been redefined

There was a time when you would pick up the phone to speak with a business, or more recently, you would jump in a website and lodge your query through an online form. Now, social media platforms are where customers seek contact, messaging directly (DMing), posting to the businesses page, commenting on photos or utilising the ChatBox functionality that is present on most Facebook pages. This has had a transformative effect on businesses, who have to deal with their customers without actually allocating any resources to it. This reduction in overheads and staff allocation can not only help the bottom line, but these communication formats actually improve retention because someone is always ‘there’.