In today’s online focused society, if I had to suggest the most efficient and highly effective marketing technique available, I would pick viral marketing. And the reasons are pretty simple. People will always believe or trust what friends and relatives have to say, more than the information coming directly from businesses and brands. And as far as efficiency goes, what could be simpler than blasting off an email or posting a message on Facebook or Twitter. In an instant – depending on the size of your email contact list, number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers – you could be communicating to hundreds or thousands of people your thoughts on a product, service or brand experience. Now that’s powerful.
But there are still businesses out there that ask “is Social Media a fad?” Or “do I really need to be on Facebook and Twitter?” Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to convince them when you can roll out the following stats.
* Currently, around 50 percent of the planet’s population is under 30 years of age
* 96 percent of people under the age of 30 engage with Social Media
* Studies have shown that 78 percent of people trust peer recommendations, compared to 14 percent that say they trust company sponsored advertisements
* The largest growth segment on Facebook is 55-56 year old females, the people largely responsible for household purchasing decisions
* 42 percent of business owners say that Twitter delivers great value for their company
* YouTube ranks as the number 2 search engine on the web, second only to Google
That’s a pretty compelling argument. But “being there” is only the first step. Building a loyal following takes time and creating this customer base should not be your sole driving force. Social Media presents a unique opportunity offered by no other medium. You can interact with people in real time. Issues can be discussed and hopefully addressed in a transparent and immediate fashion, in a voice that stays true to your company’s brand and philosophy.
So the key to Social Media is staying involved. Make sure you monitor and “listen” for references concerning your brand, both good and bad, and then respond quickly. Nothing builds brand loyalty like showing people that you care about what they think. It’s no longer a question of whether a business should have a Social Media presence, it’s a question of how much time and resources should be budgeted for this particular marketing vehicle. I loved this quote I read a while back – “the marketing industry is shifting from customer relationship management to customer managed relationships.” I believe this shift is almost complete. For now, back to the cage.