Many argue that users of social media channels have no interest in connecting with companies while they are spending time within their social networks. Recent data from emarketer and comSore make a good argument against this thought.
Social media is not a fad. It is a change in the way that people are communicating. Whether using a desktop, laptop, Smartphone, etc. people are accessing social networks on a regular basis. In 2010 about 127 million people (57% of all US Internet users) will use a social network at least once a month, according to emarketer. This is estimated to grow to two-thirds of internet users by 2014.
In addition, 33% of Facebook users have connected with brands on Facebook.
Online retailers have the ability to offer coupons, promote new products, encourage customer reviews, etc., and are thriving in social media. Those companies that have not yet ventured into social media marketing are realizing that they are falling behind and are letting the potential of social media marketing pass them by. Emarketer estimates that 9 out of 10 companies are planning to build a presence in Facebook during 2010. Some might think that these companies are just jumping on the bandwagon. While that may be true, it’s a smart choice. ComSore data shows that users who spend time on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, spend more money online than those who are not engaged in social networks. If you have an online store, why would you not want to be in social media to put your brand in front of these individuals?
This data may also coincide with the growth of social networks. Channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are no longer just for teenagers. The fastest growing age groups are adults, and not necessarily younger adults. This leads to more people using these channels who have a bit more disposable income than the average teenager.
While social media is extremely important for online retailers, it will not replace the importance of search engines. Social media is great for awareness and creating a positive brand image, but when someone is really looking to research a product, they will turn to search engines. Social media does not replace search. They each have their own place in the buying cycle and enable companies to reach customers and an interested audience in different ways.
COMPLIMENTARY WEBINAR – OFFERED LIVE OR ON-DEMAND
Join us: Wednesday, June 16th at 1pm EST (10am PST)
Can’t make the date? Also available on-demand
MoreVisibility and LinkedIn team up to bring you 10 ways to leverage LinkedIn by targeting their 7.9 million business decision-makers.
The topics to be covered include:
Targeting Decision Makers Utilizing LinkedIn DirectAds
Company Profile Creation & Benefits
Optimizing Your Profile To Attract More Customers
Creating and Answering Questions To Drive Leads
How Polls Can Increase Your Customer Awareness
Joining or Creating Groups To Interact Directly with Group Members
Create and Promote Company Events To Drive More Attendance
LinkedIn: Andrew Chang, Marketing Manager
MoreVisibility: Danielle Leitch, Executive Vice President of Client Strategy
This webinar is 45 minutes. On-Demand webinar access will be provided after 06/16/2010
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Social media can spread good news or bad news about a company like wild fire across the internet. The real trick is to figure out how to keep the fires contained and quickly put them out. By acting in real time to put out social media wild fires, companies can learn from the situation and make a better name for themselves.
Recently, Hampton Toyota experienced the wild fires of social media first hand. Here’s a brief synopsis of what took place. One of Hampton’s customers who came in to get their car serviced claimed that one of the employees had taken money from their car. The stealing occurred on several occasions, and was even brought to the attention of one of the service managers. After complaining several times, with no response, the employee placed a video camera in their car, which caught employee’s stealing money from the car. The customer posted the videos on YouTube and sent a copy to the dealer. It sounds like an uncontrollable wild fire. However, what the Hampton Toyota dealer did next tamed the wild fire.
The Hampton Toyota dealer took action. He contacted the customer, apologized for the lack of integrity on the employee’s part and in fact, some of the employees were terminated. He then placed a video on YouTube explaining what happened and how Hampton Toyota had taken steps to resolve the situation. What was turning out to be a disaster was quickly changed to a positive. The Hampton Toyota dealer used social media to put out the wild fire.
There’s a proverbial saying, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond.” The dealer of Hampton Toyota responded correctly. Not only did he rectify the situation with the customer, he effectively addressed the situation with his social media audience. The dealer was able to show that they cared about their customers as well as the social audience. They were able to put out the social media fire, instead of letting it consume them.