If you have any doubts about whether or not social media is simply just a flash in the pan or the future of internet marketing then continue reading. Now, if you've already made your mind up about social media don't abandon ship. You might discover that there's more than meets the eye.
Meets Human Needs
People crave interaction and connection with other people. This is a main reason why social media has become so popular over the last decade. Via social media, brands can create opportunities to share and recognize loyal followers with special rewards and incentives. These actions make customers feel special and it shows them that they're appreciated by the brand.
So how does this translate into showing that social media is effective? Well, unique recognition and preferred treatment was observed by Hitwise in 2009 during Black Friday holiday shopping festivities. This study revealed that 4.3% of Facebook users and 2.3% of Twitter users made an online visit to a major retailer after they visited their social media site.
Social media isn't free, but it is significantly cheaper than traditional advertising methods, which doesn't include feedback from people regarding their personal experiences. Maybe this is why print media has been suffering over the past few years. Newspaper revenue has fallen 26% during the past year bringing the totoal loss since 2006 to 41%. Then there's the magazine industry which saw 367 U.S. periodicals close up shop and cease all printing. Not nearly as bad as the more than 500 publications that called it day in 2008.
The mistrust of traditional advertising has turned consumers into skeptics. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to read-up and review just about anything and everything before making a commitment to purchase, subscribe or otherwise. Online advertising is certainly more affordable and it allows for more targeted reach. Couple that with a brand's social media presence and people can research what others are saying about a brand very quickly, plus they can ask them directly for additional information.
Builds Brand Loyalty
Based on 2009 data reported from comScore and GroupM search, social media plays an important role in paid and organic search. Click Through Rates (CTR) increased by 50% when consumers are exposed to a brand's social media profile. Additionally, when a consumer has been presented with a brand's social media campaign the study discovered that they're 2.4 times more likely to click on organic links to the brand's site.
Using this research you can see how social media directly contributes to building brand recognition and loyalty. Knowing that social media can have a positive effect on the bottom line is one more reason for businesses to integrate a social media campaign into their marketing efforts.
The thing about social media is that it's happening in real time. If you have a customer service complaint or a problem with a product you can jump on any brand's social media site and request some help. This makes it easy for businesses to deliver prompt customer care and immediately address the needs of its audience.
On the other hand, if someone chooses to broadcast their negative experience with a particular product or company it can become a nightmare, or an overnight viral video like Comcast couch guy. In 2006, a blogger needed to replace a modem at his residence. He got in touch with Comcast who sent out a technician and who the had to phone the home office for additional assistance. After being on hold for more than an hour the tech fell asleep. The blogger captured everything on video and kindly uploaded it to YouTube where it has received more than 1,542,000 views.
Social media can be used effectively to build brand awareness, as well as by people to share brand positives and negatives. The point is that no matter how you slice it social media isn't a passing fad. It is becoming a standard communication platform that has dramatically changed the way that brands and consumers interact with one another.