“Social media” is not new. The act of communicating and interacting socially has been around for thousands of years – even before we were walking upright (think artwork on cave walls). What is unique with the social media in the 21st century is the immediacy of the shared content and the ability to reach thousands of people at once. This is due to in some part to the simple easy to use technology for sharing the information.
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, even YouTube are easy to use for even the most technologically challenged individual like Moms, Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas. If you can type – you can share. And I’m not just talking about sitting at a desk. These tools are mobile – at your finger tips – simply whip out your smart phone and you are communicating and sharing.
I still marvel at the technology and it is just beginning.
Today’s social media has changed the brand/consumer relationship. There has been a paradigm shift from the brand pushing the content through traditional media – TV ads, billboards, newspapers, etc. I can remember not too long ago – maybe 10 or so, if a company ticked you off, let’s say – Delta Airlines – your typical mode of communication would be to write a letter complaining of your experience. Months would go by, and finally you would get a generic form letter back from Delta apologizing about the poor experience. Now with social networks like Facebook and Twitter the consumer can communicate directly with the brand and – the big key – with the expectation of an immediate response. Consumers expect brands to be listening through social media networks. Brands have to work harder at capturing consumer’s attention and engaging with their customers.
What is interesting though is that word of mouth is still very strong with consumers on social media networks. I’ll take my neighbors word, or an online friend’s recommendation vs. the brand telling me how great their cookie or widget is. Social media does help considerably in spreading the word of mouth exponentially, globally, not just on the local level. For example, let’s say one of my Facebook friend’s relates an excellent customer service experience on a particular restaurant – her post is seen by her Facebook friends, who like it, the like is seen by her friends’ friends, and so on so forth.
A recent digital marketing study done by Forrester Research surveyed more than 58,000 online consumers looking at how brands can better sell themselves and create content in the digital age.
One of the questions was “To What extent do you trust each of the following types of advertising/promotion?” 70% answered brand or product recommendations from friends and family. Of those surveyed 15% said posts by companies or brands on social media networks.
Brands are missing the mark with continuing to push ads on the consumers.
So my question to you is – Are customers and clients interacting with your brand? If so, how?