IT Forum Gold CoastHaving committed to give a presentation on social media next month for our local IT Forum Gold Coast, I offered as the topic “Social Media: Getting Strategic for Business Building”.

Now that I see the event “up in lights” so to speak, on the Meetup site, I’m wondering how to structure my presentation. It’s not that I don’t know what to say about social media strategy generally – friends and family might say I have too much to say and wish I would find another interest! – but more about what is the most useful approach to the subject for this particular audience.

Most of my presentations in the past, on the subject of social media strategy, have been to more general audiences, with the majority of the people not greatly familiar with social media and some even quite uncomfortable about it al.

This audience will be quite different, being mostly or all (except me) technical people and generally young enough to be very comfortable with and quite engaged with social media on a daily basis, at least for their personal social connectivity, if not for their businesses or careers.

So where do I get the data that helps me give them a sense of the social media state of play for small business in the IT industry, if not locally or nationally, then globally?

My sense is that when I start delving into the various studies, reports and commentaries, the best I can hope for is to find statistics about social media and small business generally, such as the very illuminating, most recent Sensis report on social media usage by Australian people and businesses – the Yellow Social Media Report. IT industry specific data on the topic might be too much to expect at this stage (or ever?).

Then there is the perennial challenge of relating international (especially American) statistics to the local scene. For example, a study last year in the US indicated that some 53% of small businesses profess an engagement with social media and only 24% say they do that strategically, but the Sensis report cited above says only 27% of Australian small businesses have a social media presence. So if the percentage having a social media strategy (written or not) was proportionate to that US figure, my calculation puts that at only about 12% of Australian small businesses.

Then I’m thinking that I will have to do at least some mental adjustment about any such statistics, to take account of the greater breadth and depth of knowledge in this particular group. And then speculate about how much that more developed knowledge base translates into strategic action for social media engagement.

Or how little.

Because it might emerge that there is less, not more, strategic social media engagement in this group for their own businesses or careers, not for what they do for others, than for some other group of people in business locally who do not have a lot of technical knowledge?

Questions, questions. I’m planning to run a small questionnaire with the group before the event and then to elicit more information on the night of the presentation.

In the meantime, if any reader can point me to some statistics about relative social media engagement by small IT companies compared to other small businesses, I would be most grateful.

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