Whether you regularly interact on social networks or choose to avoid the chatter of status updates and tweets, you have certainly not been oblivious to the ever-expanding online community which acts as the driving force behind the extensive expansion and spread of social media. But social media involves more than just status updates and the sharing of vacation photos. In addition to user generated content such as images, blogs and recordings, social media is a phenomenon that includes the interaction and conversation that takes place after said content is shared, i.e. made public online. Its impact on popular culture has been so influential that many studies have been conducted seeking insight into the effects of social media on commerce in general and consumer behavior in particular.
One such study observed consumer usage of social media in the United States & Canada, conducted by the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel, an authoritative voice on economic indicators involving consumer behavior. Empathica is involved with the global economy’s most recognizable brands, and this particular research gathered data from over fifteen thousand U.S. and Canadian consumers, surveying their online habits and social media usage. The intriguing finds highlighted in this survey proved to be extremely insightful in terms of online consumer trends, and the study found that at least 60% of consumers use social media outlets to keep up with their favorite brands. Check out Empathica’s Latest Consumer Use of Social Media Report for further insight.
There are many studies conducted annually by the world’s top consumer research groups, and trends suggest that consumers are becoming more focused on obtaining content from trusted sources discussing their favorite brands instead of communicating with others in terms of social media activity. For many consumers, the primary reason they connect with brands via social networks like Facebook and Twitter is for the coupons, deals, giveaways, freebies and specials that can be acquired. Consumers are also becoming more influenced by product videos, e.g. how-to video, cool ad, etc., as many are more inclined to make a purchase after they’ve seen a product or service in action.
There are a variety of social media opportunities and techniques that encourage consumer engagement, but what much of the latest research has indicated most is that consumers prefer useful social media updates from companies. Updates such as the sharing of product details, product reviews, resolving customer service issues and being active when it comes to customer product feedback. Most of all consumers just want to be taken care of, and in the friendly environment of social media, organizations need to do more than just market their brand.
What we can ascertain at this point is that the Web has increased dramatically in terms of socialization and globalization, and it continues to evolve at an unstoppable pace. In the twenty-first century small business owners should have an actively operable and adaptable social media campaign in place as a major marketing strategy.