Traditional media channels are declining and social media is becoming more and more important as a way to reach your business audience. Your customers and stakeholders are online and they’re talking about your company if you want them to or not.
Each day facebook users become ‘fans’ of brands, products and companies and around 1.5 million business searches take place on YouTube daily. This means that conversations about your brand or product are already taking place with or without your involvement. Initially it was thought to only be teenagers that were engaging across Facebook but research from Forrester shows that the growing demographic is 35 – 54 year olds by a staggering 60% increase last year.
Brand building is a reason companies are looking to use social media, according to Aberdeen Research, companies using social media are 17 times more likely to improve customer satisfaction than those who don’t yet still a large percentage of companies see it as a risk to be using social media.
Engaging in this new environment is a different, monitoring the conversation that is already out there about your company or brand would be the best place to start. Don’t just dive in the deep end and expect to become a social guru overnight. Companies and brands need to take a step back and look at how social media would benefit their companies objectives. Are you trying to reach more customers? Do you want to be an expert in your field?
Research from Edelman shows that peer to peer recommendation has dropped from 2008 – 2009, but this could be due to an increase of ‘friend’ circles – people becoming friends with others on social networking sites that they’ve never actually met in person or haven’t seen since school. It is still suggested that people need to research on average 5 different sources until becoming ‘convinced’ about your brand or product. It’s also interesting to note that becoming an expert in your field makes your more credible to others in this space.
Companies and brands should take on board the opportunities that social media presents but do so with your eyes wide open and don’t just jump straight in because everyone else is doing it.