The face of marketing communications has dramatically changed over the years. Instead of working in a push environment where brands pushed their messages onto consumers, the trend has led us down a pull environment. With technology such as the Web, consumers now have the power to control the kinds of messages they receive from brands.
If social media marketing was still a question for some brands, here are some interesting results of a study performed by Armando R. Gonzalez, one of my team members who is currently enrolled in a communications graduate program at UT Arlington.
In his study, consumers were asked if they would like to see more of their favorite brands on social media. Sixty-one percent of respondents indicated that they would, with 17 percent unsure.
Before beginning a social media program, it is often a great idea for a brand to perform market research to discover what kind of marketing messages they should deliver to their target audience. In our study, the majority of respondents chose to interact with brands on social media for informational purposes. Motivations tied to discounts, coupons, special offers and promotions placed in a neutral level.
This trend tells us that although consumers are opting to interact with brands, they still do not want to be directly sold to. Based on these results, consumers want to be educated and learn more about a brand. Messages brands distribute on social media should reflect this to prevent opt-outs.
In addition, 54 percent of respondents indicated that purchasing decisions have been influenced by what was read on social media. If a brand’s presence could better inform the consumer about their products and services, this has the potential to influence positive sales.
In summary, it can be said that consumers are accepting of brands leveraging social media to receive marketing messages as long as the information being received is for informational purposes and deemed valuable. Although consumers sometimes respond to offers on social media, the likelihood that they will respond is greater than if a brand chose traditional forms of media. In addition, if a brand has not yet established a presence on social media, strategies for doing so should be in place as consumers are genuinely interested.
How will your brand be leveraging social media in 2010?