Consumer behavior has significantly changed since the introduction of the Internet and social media. Just a few years ago, a company controlled the majority of what was published about their brand, product or service. Since Facebook was opened to the public in 2006, social media has completely transformed the relationship between consumers and businesses.
With consumers constantly engaged, they are typically facing at least one, if not multiple screens at any given time. A survey of 50,000 men by AskMen.com found that three-fourths of men aged 18-34 spend most of their time in front of a computer. That’s over four times the amount of men who spend their time in front of a TV screen (18%).
Traditionally, marketers have used messages to help push a consumer through the decision-making process to their final decision. Now, with social media, consumers are rarely engaging with a brand’s actual messages, but rather with their friends on social media. The Rochester Institute of Technology published that “22% of shoppers noted the role of social media in their decision-making . . . agreeing that social media was ‘important in my final purchase decision.’”
Neilson stated, “nine in ten consumers trust their peers more than marketers.” Social media has broadened consumers’ trust from simply family friends and colleagues to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online forums and other digital sources.
While it has become obvious to businesses that social media can be an effective tool for gathering information, many are unaware of how it can be utilized as an effective marketing tool.
Social media has given marketers an opportunity to facilitate conversations about their products and brands.
- Some companies have created commercials specifically to “go viral.” Usually implemented through some form of humor, these commercials are created to be shared from friend to friend throughout the social media community.
- Papa Johns gained 148,000 Facebook fans in one day by offering a free medium pizza for becoming a fan. This drove Papa Johns’ web traffic up 253%.
- Modcloth takes social media a step further by having consumers directly involved with the design process of their products.
- Ford decided to seek out the 100 top bloggers and gave them a Fiesta for 6 months with the only stipulation of creating a monthly video to be posted on YouTube.
- Other companies use sites like Twitter for quick feedback and to enhance their customer service.
All this social media talk arises the question- is it time to throw out traditional media? No. Social media has only created another vehicle to use, not a replacement. The biggest thing to remember about social media is that a consumer has to add you in one way or another before you can communicate to them. Direct mail and email blasts are two very effective vehicles in driving consumers to your social media page and web site.
To learn more about how to drive consumers to your social media site or web page, contact the experts at Printing Partners.