A number of you – okay, many of you, I’m sure – will say, “I know! I know!” upon reading the title of this post, but the following isn’t necessarily for you. No, it’s actually for the many people who get to this blog by way of Google searches on phrases such as “social networking advantages,” “social media opportunity,” and “sales in a 2.0 world.”
The big question for many of you is, “I see all of these marketing folks trying to sell the idea of social media, but where is the proof? What do the actual consumers have to say about it?” I’d recommend you take a look at the numbers to get that answer.
Cone Inc., a strategy and communications agency based out of Boston, conducted a survey on perceptions of social media and how it can affect consumers’ buying habits. According to the survey, sixty percent of Americans use social media, of which 59 percent of these use social media to get in touch with companies.
A whopping 93 percent of social media users believe companies should have some sort of presence on social media outlets, with varying degrees of interaction with their customers. This interaction can take the form of:
- problem-solving (43%),
- seeking feedback on products or services (41%), and/or
- creating new methods by which consumers can use or interact with the brand (37%).
Likewise, other major research firms are responding to the explosion of social media as a key business tool. With firms like IDC predicting social media’s growth by 815% in 2009, Forrester Research hits it right on the head by saying, “Rapid consumer adoption of these channels indicates that the time is now to enter this space.”
Has your company begun using social media as a marketing/branding tool? If you haven’t, what are the causes of your hesitation?