Up until this point, it’s understandable why many brands have chosen to avoid social media. Quite frankly, there haven’t been many meausurable success stories beyond those of the usual suspects like eBay, Best Buy’s internal Blue Shirt Nation community and Procter & Gamble. For the most part, it’s because many companies social initiatives have lacked a strategy, key performance indicators and overall community management. However, it’s hard to ignore some of the consumer driven data coming out of Cone Research’s latest 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study (requires free signup to download).
For starters, Cone’s report tells us that almost 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. More importantly, the study shows that 93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while 85% believe a company should not only be present, but should also interact with its consumers via social media.
If that’s not enough to whet big brand’s appetites:
- 56% of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with, and better served by, companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
- 43% say that companies should use social networks to solve my problems
- 41% want companies to solicit feedback on their products and services
- 37% feel that companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand
- 33% of men and 17% of women interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media
I don’t know about you but if I’m the CMO of a big brand, I’m looking at these numbers and shaking my head. What? You mean my customers actually want to talk to me using social media? Yup, they do. And they are already doing it with some of the other big brands they know and love like Starbucks, HP, Saturn and Sony.
So guess what Ms. or Mr. CMO, you have two choices at this point. You can continue to ignore social media and hope that smart people like Cone Research are wrong (hint: if Cone is wrong, so are the same smart folks at Forrester Research, Gartner, Sirius Decisions and Deloitte) OR they can embrace the “Groundswell” and start to think about a social media strategy and implementation plan in 2009.
Thanks to the folks at Cone for continuing to provide great research in this space. For more information on the Cone Research study, please visit their site.
This post was cross-posted on http://theengagedconsumer.powered.com.