The findings from a new Performics and ROI Research survey of more than 3,000 consumers show many reasons to get excited about social media marketing strategies.
In short, substantial groups of users indicated a willingness not only to engage with but also to buy from brands on social networking sites.
· 34% reported having 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
The study, as well as recent brand success stories, help dispel previous, lingering misconceptions about consumers being turned off by marketers attempting to sell through social media.
Take Dell, for example. A June 12 Reuters story, “Twitter helps Dell rake in sales,” detailed Dell’s successful efforts to leverage Twitter for sales. Dell reported raking in “more than $3 million from Twitter followers who clicked through its posts to its Web sites to make purchases,” including more than $1 million in the six months prior to the report. “The company posts six to 10 times a week to its DellOutlet account, where the majority of Twitter-based sales have come from … almost every post includes a coupon or a link to a sale, and about half of the posts are Twitter-exclusive deals.” These successes illustrate an important point also uncovered in the study—that extending coupons or special deals through the socialsphere can work wonders.
While the findings refute some misconceptions about social media, they also shed light on why a shrinking minority of consumers don’t want to socialize online. Of those approached for this study, 30% reported no active use of social networks and so did not qualify for the full survey. We wanted to know why they don’t network online and discovered:
· 77% simply lack interest
· 28% are concerned about privacy
· 27% don’t have time for social networking
· 13% don’t want all the connections
Overall, the survey determined how various segments of consumers use social networks in their daily lives, specifically in regard to finding out about different types of products and in relation to other media channels. The study found that marketers who embrace the medium and communicate relevant messages in consumers’ language and on their terms could gain customers and grow sales.
Marketers seeking to capitalize on a ripe environment to brand and possibly sell can start by asking some internal questions about social media use now and moving forward, including:
· Have we considered direct marketing as a viable social media strategy?
· Can social networks equal or better the ROI of other performance marketing channels?
· Can we make immediate tactical adjustments to maximize ROI for the holiday season?
· What type of long term adjustments should we consider for 2010 and beyond?
As marketers better understand social media users and the associated opportunities, they should keep exploring the channel’s emerging opportunities, beginning with four important applications:
1. Increase social chatter: Talk about products and services in the social space
2. Create promotions: Implement strategies to further direct marketing and merchandising efforts
3. Microtarget: On Facebook, marketers can microtarget social media advertisements to reach members of niche target markets with laser accuracy and efficient media buys
4. Track results: Ensure the right metrics are in place to track social successes and failures
Social media users’ willingness to interact with and potentially buy from brands through social networks presents marketers with a unique opportunity to tap into an advertising channel growing in use every single day. It is an environment that appears ripe for brand engagement, promotional marketing and selling events. Focusing on strategic marketing opportunities in social is becoming a priority, and these research findings validate this.
Michael Kahn (Michael.email@example.com) is senior vice president, marketing, at Performics and a monthly contributor to Chief Marketer. For a copy of the survey findings, e-mail Addie Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.