By Andrés Uribe
By now every company knows (or has been told) that if they don’t have a social media presence then they are missing out. But what exactly are they missing out on?
When making a purchasing decision, who do consumers generally go to for advice?
The people they trust, their friends. I’d be a millionaire, if I had a dollar for every time someone made a purchasing decision after asking me “Ooh, the new iPhone! How do you like it? I’m thinking of getting it.” Or “Ah! Your lunch looks so good, where’d you get it from?” But, I’d be a billionaire if I had a dollar for every time a consumer made a purchase decision after seeking the same sort of information on Facebook, Twitter, or other Social Media news feeds. In the US alone, 81% of respondents to a Forbes survey indicated that their friend’s social media posts directly influence their purchase decisions.
The point being, word of mouth advertising remains one of, if not the most, effective forms of advertising. Currently 70% of social media users login at least once a month to hear opinions on products from people they trust, according to Nielson’s Social Media Report. Consumers can read all they want about how the new Android phone has a bigger screen, is faster, and holds more data than the iPhone. But even with all this information, no marketing effort can trump the effects of a few close friends saying, “I looked at getting the Android but it felt funny in my hand, so I got the iPhone instead and I love it.”
Now what does this have to do with a company’s social media presence?
A company with a social media presence is able to directly influence the way these online conversations go. The median number of views-to-shares on Facebook is 9-1, according to an article authored by executives from StumbleUpon and Buzzfeed in AdAge. This means that most media that is being viewed and shared online is coming from someone who is closely connected to the people they are sharing it with; similar to how in real life a consumer will share their thoughts on a product to a few of their close friends.
The only difference though is that when online, these thoughts aren’t always the consumer’s exact thoughts, but rather them agreeing with the well-crafted thoughts of the brand itself. This is where a company’s social media presence makes a huge impact. Take for example a company with a great product but no social media presence. Consumers of this product may or may not be inspired to post to Facebook how they enjoy using the product. Now take that same brand with a Facebook presence, and the fact that 50% of consumers follow brands they like on a social media platform. Couple that with the fact that 36% of social media users share brand related content with their friends , and this brand has now dramatically increased their chances of sparking some word-of-mouth-advertising.
Like with most marketing initiatives though, you cannot be fully certain of the results until you actually follow through with the campaign. But one thing that is certain is that 62% of consumers with access to the internet communicate over social media, as reported by Reuters. A brand that is able to tap into those online conversations will undoubtedly see a huge impact to their bottom line.