There’s no doubt about it, social media has turned the business world on its head and revolutionized the ways in which companies interact with consumers. Social networks give brands access to an unprecedented volume and variety of consumers, and those consumers aren’t just young people. 27.5 million users over the age of 55 engage in social media, according to a study by qSample. It’s become an integral part of people’s lives. Even on the go, people need to check their profiles, with 60% of millenials having said they use their smartphones for social networking. The power of word-of-mouth and the consumer voice has been magnified to compete on the same level as traditional advertising, and people freely give more information than any marketer could have dreamed of collecting 20 years ago. With so many new options available, many companies are left without a clue where to start, and some even reject social media marketing entirely instead of working to perfect their campaign. Taming the social media monster can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. Whether B2C or B2B, there’s more to social media than simply having a profile.
The most important aspect of social media is communication. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide companies with direct access to consumers and clients, but people aren’t satisfied with one-sided conversations anymore. They have thoughts and ideas that they want to be heard, and social media provides a platform for that happen. Businesses can take advantage of this by collecting feedback and ideas to cater their products to what consumers actually want. Social media allows brands to test and perfect ideas through consumer feedback at extremely low cost, but research and development isn’t the only department that has benefited greatly from the advent of social media, PR has as well. In the event of a crisis, social media provides companies with a place to keep consumers informed and allow them to answer questions. In addition to this, it allows companies to control the messages sent to consumers, which avoids the negative perspectives given by news outlets.
Communication is one aspect of engagement marketing, but there are many others that can also be used. Consumers want to be involved, and social media is the perfect place to do that. One of the best ways to allow people to participate is through crowdsourcing. Contests that ask consumers to design a new logo, or even film their own commercial for a product are an example that can cut costs for a business while empowering consumers and building loyalty. Encouraging shares, likes, and other digital word-of-mouth advertising is cheap and creates a sense of community around the brand as well. By aligning the company’s goals with what the consumer wants, everyone involved can benefit.
Social media sites collect an incredible amount of data on consumers. Most people don’t realize just how much information ey give out online. Name, age, and birthdates are obvious, but even simply liking a page or post can give marketers an extraordinary insight into people’s lives. It’s not uncommon for addresses, marital statuses, and even current locations to be given by users. For businesses, social media can provide insights on known target demographics, or even help a company identify potential new targets.
The digital age is here, traditional marketing has become antiquated, and businesses must adapt by joining social media sites. Consumers demand more than a one-sided conversation. They want to be involved, and social media is the perfect place for engagement marketing. The variety of users and their willingness to give useful information can provide marketers with insights and data collection tools that would have seemed unbelievable only a few years ago. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, social media is the place to be.
qSample offers many great panels for data collection and analysis. In addition to large segments of general consumers, qSample cultivates high-quality specialty panels. Those panels include:
Mobile Users, Gamers, Voters, Contractors, Home Owners, Students, Baby Boomers, Veterinarians, and Pet Owners.
You can find more information by clicking on the “Panels” tab above, or contact qSample here