A recent study by Nielsen – the State of the Media: The Social Media Report (Q3 2011) – is a revealing snapshot of the current social media landscape and audience in the U.S. The results reinforce the growing popularity of social media as a way to connect people with brands and ultimately the influence social media has on consumer behavior. What follows are a few of the key results shared in the study examined closely through a business lens.
“Social networks and blogs are still the top online destination– accounting for a total of 23% of time spent online. 4 in 5 active internet users are visiting social networks and blogs.”
With so many people spending more time on social networks than on your average business page, are you engaging your customers where they are? What are you doing to engage in conversations, raise awareness of your brand’s products and services or are you still expecting consumers to come to you?
Times are not what they used to be. The simplistic ‘Build it and they will come’ approach just doesn’t cut it any longer. This isn’t about not investing in your corporate website, but rather looking at bringing some of it to where your consumers are hanging out– social networks. As well, it means paying attention to what consumers are saying about your brand and engaging where possible. Businesses need to humanize their brands on social networks. This is something many are still struggling with.
To be successful, firms must ensure they have a content strategy that includes social media. Ask yourself, what are you doing to ensure your brand is on the same social networks that your consumers are on? Remember to include the right listening and engagement strategy as well as a good content plan.
“Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website.”
To paint a more detailed picture– 53.5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook, with Yahoo at a distant 2nd with only 17.2 billion minutes spent.
While this may not be surprising, this is something that companies should pay attention to, especially if there is a lot of investment made to drive people to the main corporate website. With stats supporting people flocking to Facebook and spending a lot of their online time here, it would make sense for brands to not only have a presence here but to develop the right content and engagement strategy that could help meet their goals.
It’s not about doing away with your corporate website as there are lot of good reasons to continue investing in it but rather looking at how you can bring your brand to Facebook and how to incorporate some of the Facebook functionality onto your own corporate site.
Are you allowing consumers to make purchases directly from Facebook or view television shows while engaging with their Facebook friends? What about the reviews and other comments that users leave on your brand page, are you listening, engaging and responding regularly?
“Close to 40% of social media users access social media
content from their mobile phone.”
According to NM Incite, nearly 2 in 5 social media users access social networks form their mobile phones.
Always on the go and engaging with friends, this is your new consumer. What does this mean for business? For starters, it means that listening and engagement doesn’t stop when business hours are over. With the mobile user accessing their social networks on the go, it means having a content and offer strategy that caters to this.
Are you including updates that would be relevant to users– tips, latest news, offers– that are short, easy to access and shareable via a mobile device?
It is worth thinking about how your business content, products and services could be of use to the on-the-go person who stays connected to their networks by way of their mobile device. Are you considering things like Foursquare and GetGlue where users who check-in can receive tips or offers related to your business? Are you doing anything to encourage users to review and upload photos from their mobile device– making it easy and possible.
As well, are you ensuring that your business is monitoring the conversations that are happening within the social media space at all times– engaging, responding when necessary?
Think about it. With more people accessing social media content from their mobile phone, this could mean that people could comment on an experience had with your business immediately as it happens via their mobile phone– broadcasting to all of their friends and followers. Do you have a plan in place to address this?
“70% of active online adult social networks shop online, 12% more likely
than the average adult Internet user.”
What is interesting to note is the high percentage of people that are active participants in social networks and how this correlates to online shopping. There is a huge opportunity here for businesses to leverage this fact and relooking at their ecommerce strategy to make any necessary changes.
For one, look at your current online shopping experience. Have you integrated social into the purchasing process, allowing consumers to read and write reviews, share what they are looking to buy with their friends, add to a wish list that they can then share with friends and family?
What about taking the shopping experience to social networks where your potential and existing consumers already are? Look at integrating some of the key products/services right onto Facebook, allowing them to use Facebook credits as a way to purchase right from where they already are engaging. Here’s an opportunity for their purchase to be shared with their other Facebook friends, reaching an audience your business may otherwise not have been able to reach.
Shopping is more often than not something that is ‘social’, so why not ensure that your business’s online experience is also ‘social’ – whether it means integrating straight onto your ecommerce site or by bringing some of that ecommerce to where your potential consumers already are – social networks.
“53% of active adult social networkers follow a brand, while 32% follow a celebrity.
60% of social media users create product and service reviews.”
Those statistics surprised even me. What would be interesting to note is how active these people are on the brand pages, and conversely the brands with their consumers. Are their specific brands people seem to ‘like’ more than others? Nonetheless, this is an important number to note for many reasons. For one, does your business have a content strategy in place to keep people coming back and engaged with your brand page once they’ve” liked” it?
Active social media users are more influential. Consumers trust peer recommendations first. These reviews and recommendations by peers are their way of finding out the information they need – price, quality, value – before making a purchase.
Their influence should not be understated. Peer reviews are powerful and can influence online spending. If you are receiving a lot of negative reviews about a product or service, chances are people reviewing these are thinking twice before making the purchase or coming to your establishment. Are you listening and making appropriate changes where possible?
Chances are, many of the people you know are on at least one social network and participate on a frequent basis. With the growing number of people on social networks and spending more and more of their time here, brands need to ensure they have the right strategy in place to listen, monitor and engage with these influential consumers. With social media making it possible for consumers and brands to connect, and with its growing popularity and power of influence, it is more important than ever before for brands to target the right audience with the right message in the right media setting.
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Di Gallo is the Director, Social Media Partnerships at Rogers and a contributor to the Social Media Week Global Editorial Team based in Canada. The opinions expressed here are her own. Follow her on twitter @digallo