Social Media Participants to Marketers: It’s Not About You! [Data]

5 Questions to Assess Your Social Media Marketing

Have you listened to what to what your prospects and customers want from your organization on social media platforms?

If not, there’s a good chance your marketing may be missing the mark. Based on research from IBM (Hat tip to Brian Solis for pointing out this research!) there’s a perception gap between what consumers want from marketers and what marketers think they want.

Overwhelmingly, the number one reason consumers use social media platforms is to connect with friends and family, according to IBM’s research. That should be no surprise since at its core, social media is about, well, being social. This is followed by gathering news and being entertained, the main reason people use any form of media.

For marketers, the more interesting finding is that about one in five customers wants to connect with a brand on social media. By contrast, nobody (except those in the advertising field) expresses the desire to watch advertising on television. For marketers, this raises an important question: how are you going to interact with these hand raisers to take advantage of this sentiment?  If you’re thinking it’s marketing as usual, you’re still thinking old media.

Deeper examination of the research results reveals that 45% of respondents will connect with brands on social media, but there’s a catch. They’re willing to listen to you, the marketer, but they expect you to be honest with them and treat them well. Further, topping the reasons consumers gave for not connecting with brands are privacy and spam. This means you can’t use social media platforms as another promotional push channel.

Given these results, the disconnect between what customers want from brands on social media platforms and why brands want to connect with consumers on those platforms is understandable. Extending their online research and shopping activities to social media platforms, customers are looking for the best deal, while companies think they’re just looking for more product information. Of course you should provide the product information, but this is a double-edged sword because if you push too much promotional information, too often, consumers will cut you off.

As a marketer, it’s critical to consider how to incorporate these findings into your social media marketing plans. Here are five questions to help you get your social media marketing on track.

  1. What are your business goals for your social media marketing?  As with any marketing strategy, you must consider what do you want your marketing to accomplish? Are you looking to attract new customers, build your brand, increase sales, or support fans? Your answer will direct your strategy since not all social media marketing platforms are optimal for every objective.
  2. What do your customers want from your firm on social media platforms? If you’re not sure, ask them. As this research underscores, don’t assume you know what they want because your assumptions and goals may prevent you from seeing the situation objectively. Use this information to develop marketing personas to support your program. Do they just want the incentive you’re offering to get them to like you or something else?
  3. What should you provide your social media connections? Do your prospects and customers want promotions, product information, customer service or other form of engagement? How is this related to your goals? How will you provide this content and interaction? Who within your organization will support and/or create the content?
  4. Which platform(s) should you used to accomplish your objective? Assess which social media platform(s) are best for accomplishing your goals while fulfilling your prospect and customers needs. If you’re looking for expanding your base, you may be interested in Facebook’s 750 million members, while if you’re looking to convey complex information, you may do better with a blog or video.
  5. How will you measure the success of your social media strategy in achieving its goals? You need to select metrics that help you assess your progress to ensure that your strategy is on track.

From a marketing perspective, the lesson in this research is that it’s critical to listen to what your prospects and customers want from you. Further, as marketing continues to evolve with newer technologies and devices, how you integrate your marketing using these communications channels must change. As always, you need to ensure that you’re connecting with your prospects and customers when and where they’re interested in your organization.

Do you have any other suggestions based on this research? If so, what is it?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related articles that you may find of interest.

Photo credit: Woop via Flickr

 

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  • http://dashthis.com Stephane Guerin

    I don’t know for big companies, but for SMBs where the social media specialist is often anyone having a twitter or facebook account, a simple plan to start would be to have one simple editorial rule: Share things you’d like to get yourself.

    I mean, if you wouldn’t care about press release, don’t spam your twitter account with that.

    Also, if you’d like people to talk with you, why not start the conversation yourself? Engage your fans and show them interest. And it could be as simple as saying thanks for a retweet.

  • http://www.parkresearch.com Kaylor Hildenbrand

    Great article, Heidi. I agree with the comments above. As a qualitative research consultant, I certainly know the importance of listening to your consumers. And from the consumer perspective, it seems SM is about just that. Them feeling they are being heard, and in a sense, connecting thru SM is their way of saying, “I’m here.”. SM now means that brand communication is a two way street. It seems that a lot of the value lies in the simple exchanges, the engagement on a more personal level.

  • Corey

    You should want to try and think and be a new consumer for your product. Think about what you would like to see when it comes to using social media to promote your products. However, do not think to close minded because everyone in this world thinks differently. I would say the best way to learn what your target market would like to see in social media would be to conduct a focus group. This focus group should contain the people of your main target group. That way you will be able to get positive and negative feedback from the people that will actually be using your product. With having this focus group, the company is able to see what way to target the most variety of people. Also with having this focus group, the people involved will tell their friends about what they did and that may gain new consumers. Making a good relationship with the consumer is a way to broadcast that not many companies are taking a hold of. Making personal relationships makes the consumer feel comfortable and have trust in the product they want to purchase.