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How do Polish companies use social media?

Do companies use social networks more willingly than they did a few years ago?

According to various studies (e.g. European Commission or analytical tool Sotrender), from about 10% to about 20% of companies in Poland use social media – this is still low ratio as compared for instance to the United States, where, according to LinkedIn, such companies constitute 80% (data for small and medium enterprises).

This percentage, however, is constantly growing (along with the number of social media users in general) – big brands are main players as they are not only more willing, but also more and more thought-out (and creative) approach to using this space.

Expenses related to advertising on the Internet, including that on social media, are also growing.

It involves challenges and limitations: social platforms have become so powerful and extensive that to be effective you need to be fluent with their functions and tools and study constant changes and new products introduced by websites.

It seems that in contrast to the situation we faced a few years ago, the main question for companies is no longer whether to invest in social media, but rather, which platforms to use and how to use them to succeed.

 

Do their functions really change?

The basic functions of social media (in other words, communication, discussion, exchange of opinions) have remained unchanged for years. However, the opportunities and features offered to companies by social networking sites have evolved significantly.

Social media has become a new channel of customer service. A while ago banks and telecommunications companies in Poland noticed how important customer service is via social media and how many people address their questions and problems in these places (they expect a quick answer to their questions in exactly same place).

Social networks have also proved that they are able to sell products and services for various companies, as well as accurately measure and evaluate advertising activities and the results achieved.

Due to the development of technologies and the platforms themselves, we can now gain customers, poll opinions, research target groups for our company, analyze what, where and how our brand or product is perceived, accurately analyze the activities and offer of competition, collect data about existing or potential clients and supply them with already existing systems in the company, test solutions or prototypes of solutions, conduct activities in the area of “employer branding” or search for the best employees for our company. A few years ago, we did not talk about such a wide spectrum of social media applications.

Additionally, the approach of the brand itself to advertising in social media and the mechanisms of reaching and acquiring the attention of individual target groups is changing. Let us use Eurosport as an example. Eurosport will soon probably organize the world’s first vlog presenting the background of the upcoming winter Olympic games in South Korea – engaging the famous Polish YouTube creator Krzysztof Gonciarz in these activities.

 

Which social media are used most often by companies?

Facebook, with the largest number of users in Poland in terms of social media (15 million active users monthly, of which 12 million return to the website every day) and with a very wide range of solutions for business, has become a social network, which is the most popular and most frequently used by companies.

In fact, the choice of social platforms significantly depends on the goals and target group of the company, as well as on the nature of the company and its products or services – not always Facebook must be the best or the only choice.

Different social platforms work well for different purposes. LinkedIn can be a great choice if we offer products or services for business, or when we are looking for employees or wish to start employer-branding initiatives. We can use Facebook to conduct professional customer service in social media or to redirect people potentially interested in our products to our online store, and then measure the effects of these activities, and Instagram in turn can prove if we want to build a brand image among young people. Eventually, this is just the beginning of the possibilities.

 

Which target groups communicate best with business using social channels?

It depends on the social media. In general, most users of social media platforms in Poland are people aged 34-44. This age-based grouping, however, changes from platform to platform: and so, for example, Instagram or Snapchat are used mainly by younger people, and in turn, on Polish Twitter a strong group is people aged 55+. We also observe a constant growth of older social media users.

Therefore, so much depends on the selection of appropriate social channels to the needs and brand target group, and on how we use mechanisms that allow us to reach our recipients with our messages (most platforms offer the feature of very precise targeting of advertising messages, i.e. reaching people in specific age ranges, specific gender, interested in specific topics, being in specific locations, or even those that have already done some action on our website).

If as a brand, we will be able to reach a selected target group, and additionally, to make such people interested in our content, there is a very good chance that this group will communicate with us and choose our products or services. It does not mean that such a group cannot be, for example, seniors.

 

Piotr Podgajny,

Social Media Manager

 

* The text with the commentary by Piotr Podgajny was published on 23 January 2018 in Rzeczpospolita.

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