People use social media for a wide variety of reasons - catch up with old friends, make new connections and so on. But when it comes what they use social media for regarding a given brand or product or service, most people use social media to see what other people are saying about these very same brands, products or services.
Back in August I wrote a post called Why Marketers Need To Pay Attention To Online Reviews in which I revealed a survey finding that showed that 80% of online customers change their mind about making a purchase after reading negative online reviews. I also explained in that post why a negative review can have a positive impact. It really can. Trust me. Read the post and you'll see what I mean.
New research by NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey Company shows that the #1 thing consumers use social media for as it relates to their favorite brands is not to get coupons/discounts, or to get information about new products or even to provide feedback of their own, be it postive or negative.
The #1 reason consumers use social media as it relates to their favorite brands is to read. As in read what others are saying about their favorite brands or products or services. The chart below shows that people use social media on a personal level to connect with old friends, for entertainment purposes and so on. And on a career level to network. But look at the section labeled "Products/Services."
Consumers, AKA your customers Mr. and Mrs. Marketer and Advertiser are reading what other consumers are saying. See how much weight that aforementioned 80% number carries? What this means is you, as the keeper of your brand's or your client's brand social media flame need to be very diligent in monitoring what others are saying about your brand, your product, your service... your whatever. You get my point.
Consumers, be they prospects or existing customers are going on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs to see what their fellow consumers are saying and what these folks are saying goes a long way in determining your ultimate success or failure. Sorry to be so fatalistic but marketers and advertisers need to wake up and smell the coffee and realize that we are living in a consumer-driven society. Consumers call the shots. Social media is their world. Marketers and advertisers just live in it. And if marketers and advertisers want to keep living in it, they best catch on quick to this fact.