Three Reasons You Should Care About Social Media

Many marketers are still apprehensive about involving their brands in social media initiatives. Quite a few still deny that their brands have anything to gain from interacting in the space.

I agree that you have to dive in because it’s right for your brand and NOT because you suffer from shiny object syndrome. After all, social media isn’t right for all companies. But I venture to say that it makes a lot of sense for most. Why? Here are three reasons why it matters and why your brand should seize the opportunities it affords.

One opinion matters more than ever.
People have always shared their negative and positive brand experiences with friends and family, but we have a small circle of influence in the offline world. And it takes a decent amount of effort to rant or rave by phone, e-mail or in-person with everyone you know. So you tell a few of them.

Thanks to social media, the circle of influence that consumers now have has never been bigger. It allows them to cast wider nets by connecting with more contacts. Frequent interaction within the networks and adding value within them also builds each consumer’s level of influence among their contact.

It’s also MUCH easier to rant or rave with social media tools. In 45 seconds, a consumer can use her wireless phone while sitting at a restaurant to praise great service on Twitter, Plurk, her Facebook status, and FriendFeed. In short, consumers can share experiences with significantly more people than before and they can do it faster and easier than ever. This image by Sam Lawrence illustrates the difference in size between our offline and online networks.

Consumers are connected across many social media platforms.
We talk about touch points because we know that the more a consumer sees a brand’s message, the more likely they are to recall it. The graph below from Steve Jurvetson illustrates how members of my social media networks are connected to me in more places. If I have a positive experience and mention it in my Facebook status, send a “tweet” about it on Twitter, share a “plurk” on it and write a blog post about it, a good percentage of my connections will see that message in more than one place. That means that my messages about a brand have a good chance of becoming part of how others see that brand.

Brand reviews within social media play a big role in consumers’ purchase decisions.
The numbers don’t lie. Here are some interesting stats that show how consumers use social media to determine which brands they buy.

  • 68 percent of consumers look to and trust their peers when it comes to product advice (Word Of Mouth Marketing Association – WOMMA)
  • 72 percent of consumers who use social media tools also use them to research a company’s reputation (Society for New Communications Research)
  • 74 percent of consumers who use social media tools choose to do business with companies based on the customer care experiences others share online (Society for New Communications Research)

There are, of course, more than three reasons why brands should care. What have I left out? What compelling information have you used to help show its importance to your clients or within your organization?

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5 responses to “Three Reasons You Should Care About Social Media

  1. Hi David – nice blog.

    General, but I would add the importance of responding to help shape your brand’s direction.

    I think one key thing for any company is to recognize that the online discussion will go on with or without them. Moreso than ever, consumers are defining your brand at an alarming rate. Whether you properly monitor and listen as well as actively engage in the conversation can have a huge impact on influencing your brand to the highest degree possible.

  2. Scott – thanks. appreciate the kind words.

    I agree. That’s actually going to be part of my post for tomorrow, which will begin a short series on the benefits of social media for brands. Listening to and shaping the coversation is definitely an important benefit.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  3. The Steve Jurvetson graphic is great. I look forward to reading your upcoming series. It will be helpful to convincing our clients and our PR colleagues of social media’s value and relevance.

  4. Great post. I think the cultural changes that social media brings to The Brand are of particular interest and have made some suggestions as how to handle this as a brand planner / CEO whilst half the world still lives in a world of mass media. I did a post exploring such issues would love to hear your take..

    The Brand & Social Media

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