The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report has proven once again that Australians should start considering gluing their smartphones to their palms...because don’t they love social media?

And while usage is almost universal among 18-29 year olds (99%), the big jumps were in the 30-39 age group (up 14 points to 96%) and the 40-49 age group (up 16 points to 86%).

Just so we are all clear, Sensis consider social media to be any of the following services - from the popular Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube to the less preferred Tumblr, Google+, Pintrest, Reddit, Vine.

We took you through the key outtakes from last year’s report and the core of this hasn’t really changed over the past 12 months. It’s worth reviewing this report to give your social activities a bit of a refresh, however, here are some new and interesting findings from the 2017 report:

Customer Service & Trust
Trust is clearly one of the most vital pieces of any relationship, even between a person and a brand. 64% of people are more likely to trust brands that interact with consumers in a positive way. That’s up 12 points from last year. People are also using direct messaging services, like Facebook Messenger to get in touch directly with the brand, as opposed to picking up the phone. Quick, fast and positive response, along with getting involved in the post comment thread. Make sure you have a system in place of how often you check your Facebook messenger, which should be ideally at least once a day.

Video, video, video...did we say video?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Video is King! Most people (61%) have watched a video on social media, which just underpins value of a quality video, and how social media platforms (mainly Facebook) preferences video over other types of content. Stay tuned for TNE’s video content production session and learn how easy it is to shoot and edit your own videos.

Shareable content
People will be inclined to share something beautiful, funny or inspiring, as they want to be seen to be on top of trends and news, with a significant number (46%) of people surveyed having shared someone else’s post. Make sure you give visitors to your site a reason to post like providing them with a beautiful pause-point or a beautiful plate of food, as 45% of happy snappers have posted a selfies and 40% posted a picture of their food.

Brand Research
Almost 25% of people surveyed use social media to follow brands and businesses with 41% of women aged 30-39 (big decision makers) following businesses.

Among the 16% who use social media platforms to research products or services, the most common items they research are fashion and electrical goods (17% each), other (15%) and holiday travel and accommodation (10%). After a large peak last year (21%), the amount of people who use social media to research holiday, travel and accommodation has dropped back to (10%), returning to trend figures of 2015 (7%) and 2014 (11%), showing that last year’s peak as an anomaly, but is still a popular search category.

Break time
We all know people are more likely to check their social media account first thing in the morning and in the evening (of course we do), however the people checking their accounts during breaks and while scoffing their lunch is on the rise, with nearly half the adult population accessing social media during those periods. Consider these new key times when scheduling and posting your content.

Snapchat has almost doubled in popularity, jumping from 22% to 40% of social media users, now becoming the thirst most used platform.

Surely, with this meteoric rise, we should all be jumping on and creating a Snapchat account for our businesses? Well, not so fast - if you are wanting to know whether and how to get started on Snapchat, read our guide to Snapchat for local tourism businesses in this update.

The 2016 report found consumers took a cautious approach to businesses advertising on social media, however this year’s report shows quite a significant shift. People are now more likely to inspect a brand’s social media presence before making an online purchase if they have not purchased from their website before. Therefore, it appears social media advertising or sponsorship is gaining greater acceptance as a marketing tool for brands, so it is most definitely worthwhile considering spend in this space when working out your marketing and advertising budget for the year.

Twenty one percent of Internet users have posted reviews or blogs, which is six points lower this year, however and most importantly the most reviewed businesses were Hotels (51%) and Restaurants/bars/cafes (36*).

If you are interested to read through the full report, you can find it here.