The communication between brands and consumers has changed dramatically, so much so that brands can no longer effectively communicate using only TV, print media, radio and outdoor. In 2014 social media has grown to become one of, if not the major approach for brands marketing to todays super savvy audience. But with an abundance of knowledge and insight at our disposal, are brands today seeing success from social media or is it merely a minefield that few are able to navigate through?
The general public have direct access to the majority of brands and if they don't have access, those brands are effectively not in the very large shop window.
It is ideal to engage with users that have are speaking positively about your brand. However, negative feedback from consumers can reveal the dark side of social media. This is nothing to be afraid of; criticism is part of business and the way you address the conflict and respond to the negative feedback can humanise your company. Social Media is a two-way channel where real value lies in building and developing relationships.
A social media strategy is such a necessary tool that will not only help to address conflicts, but increase brand awareness. In addition, it will improve the understanding you have of your consumers, your competitors and ultimately if the strategy has been positioned to, it can generate ROI. Recent research has confirmed that social media will be in 6 years now the first priority to collect consumer data.
According to the last report from Mass Relevance and the CMO Club, 87% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) said social media is the most engaging digital medium for serving real-time content. 95% said that content marketing was important to their business in 2014. Moreover 66% of them expect their content marketing efforts to yield a positive ROI in 2014, being much higher for B2C companies who expected 71% and B2B at 58%.
By creating and curating interesting stories and content, marketers are seeing an increased ROI for their campaigns.
Only 1 out of 200+ CMOs claimed content marketing "wasn't important at all" to their business. And 33% said it is an "extremely important" part of their marketing mix for 2014. The biggest challenges for marketers were to create fresh timely content (35.7%), reaching consumers across digital touch-points (24.4%) or understanding how to use social media for content marketing (17.4%).
Social media has become a massively important part in people's lives. 15.1m consumers use social media channels before making purchases where 71% are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. 74% rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions which means if 3/4 people are navigating to social media prior to making a purchase, it is imperative that as a brand you are in that shop window. Another highlighting statistic from the report suggested that 78% of people were influenced to purchase by the content that brands they follow were posting.
An interesting stat from the youth led market was that 64% of millennials said that brands should provide more ways to share their opinions online. This target demographic has been born into digital technology, they're native to it and they're likely to be your early adopters and brand advocates; an important fact to think about when considering who to target for your social media strategy.
If the annual purchasing power of millennials is estimated to be $170 billion, combined with the knowledge that 76% of smartphone owners used their devices whilst in store; it doesn't take a NASA scientist to calculate the importance of having an effective social media strategy.
Questions to think about: