Marketers who embrace social media stand a good chance of engaging people. Marketers who communicate relevant messages in the consumer’s language and on their terms stand an even better chance of acquiring customers and growing sales.
This outlook reflects findings from a comprehensive study by Performics and ROI Research, which recently surveyed more than 3,000 Americans to determine how various segments use social networks in their daily lives. Questions specifically probed use of different types of social sites, receptivity to marketer messaging within those sites and use of social networks as it relates to other media channels.
According to the study, people are willing to engage with and talk about brands on social networking sites. Some key findings from the study include:
• 34% have used a search engine to find information on a product/service/brand after seeing an advertisement on a social networking site
• 30% have learned about a new product, service or brand from a social networking site
• 32% said messages about printable coupons on social sites resonate with them • 28% said messages about sales or special deal notifications resonate with them
While many marketers have shied away from direct marketing or selling on social media for fear of alienating people, this study reveals a rationale for letting go of that hesitation. In fact, not only do many people want to interact with brands online, they specifically indicated a desire to receive offers and promotions. This attitude becomes even more prevalent with those who use specific social networking sites:
• 46% will talk about or recommend a product on Facebook
• 44% of Twitter users have recommended a product
• 36% of YouTube users have gone to an online retailer or ecommerce site after learning about a brand on a social network site
Although different social networks prompt varying behaviors, users of each network expressed openness to marketing/promotional messages. Many also reported actively using as many as four social networks and doing so through multiple devices. So not only are social media users interested in buying; they’re reachable through a variety of Web properties and personal devices.
Regardless of where and how marketers connect with consumers in social media, they should understand that promoting offers and deals on social networks and actively engaging with people can amplify promotions exponentially. Marketers should also encourage engaged consumers to share special offers with their own friends and followers. This amplification effect enables marketers to capitalize on consumers’ willingness to buy on a much wider scale — leveraging the personal endorsements and networks of engaged consumer advocates.
As the social media channel — and consumer behavior within it — continues to evolve, marketers should embrace the direct marketing and promotional opportunities that exist today and prepare for new opportunities to tap the growing potential of social media tomorrow.