A marketing colleague of mine mentioned that she hadn’t made up her mind about how beneficial the world of social media was to a brand. I am finding that she is not alone in her sentiments. A Small Business Trends article states, “…only 12 percent of [survey] respondents described social media promotion as a “must” for their businesses, with 47 percent of SMBs admitting that they still don’t use social media at all for business purposes”.
What’s all the Buzz?
What must be understood is that social media is word of mouth marketing (WOM). Shares, recommendations, and endorsements are now going beyond the barriers of a business’s physical address. Increased brand exposure and awareness, all at the hands of the consumer! Statistics show 76% of Americans talk about brands in a typical day. An average of 10 brands are mentioned every day and 70% of brand mentions include a recommendation. Why not join the conversation.
What inspires consumers to talk about a brand online? Any experience with a brand can spark conversation. Utilizing social media to extend the brand experience does spark conversation. Engaging consumers by providing conversation, incentives, discount offers, product information, and extended customer service are ways to get noticed. Followers who feel they are gaining an experience with the brand interaction are also more inclined to become more loyal consumers.
A great example of a brand that has taken this initiative is HP (Hewlett-Packard) with their Twitter accounts. A recent report shows HP as having the most global mentions over any other brand. They engage the consumer by targeting segmented consumers (product specific pages), frequent interaction, asking for product feedback, and communicating deals. The numbers don’t lie, you can track the number of followers and shares (among many other stats) if its value vindication that is needed.
Oh and did I mention, Google counts social media shares for search engine ranking. So if your sole focus is on website traffic and you still are not seeing SEO ranking results, you competitor may be very active on social media platforms. This exemplifies the need for integrated marketing.