It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the social media has transformed the world of internet marketing irrevocably.
‘Customers’ are no longer simply customers, but are an integral part of the brand itself. They have become active participants in the whole branding process, and now have the power to influence the product and the behaviour of the company making it. The S-Net survey, carried out by Performics and referred to in part one of this article, clearly showed that customers have the power to influence other customers, but it also demonstrates clearly that they are the key between success and failure for any company. Companies now have to cede some of their own power to the customer and in some ways let them dictate what happens.
Performics CEO, Daina Middleton, stated that this message came through loud and clearly:
“The most effective marketers continue to adopt performance marketing strategies that engage ‘participants’ in every channel of their media mix – across platforms, devices and screens. In this day and age, ‘participant’ is a much more accurate description for brand constituents than consumers, as they are actively dictating what, where and how they interact with any company or product. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with social media, so brands that cede some control to embrace this reality have tremendous opportunities to succeed.”
This power shift is clearly demonstrated by the survey’s findings.
- 53% of those polled frequently or occasionally use social networks to provide feedback to a brand or retailer.
- 52 % agreed that people can influence business decisions made by companies, brands and retailers by voicing opinions on social networking sites.
- 34 % reported that interacting with a brand or company on social networks made them more aware of their eco-friendly efforts.
“The best part about this fundamental power shift is how it motivates people to interact with the brands and companies they follow. Active social networkers report a desire for regular interaction with them,” said Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. “In fact, 53 percent said products, services or companies should communicate with fans on social networking sites at least once per week.”
Performics and ROI Research will release a further study called “vertical reports” this summer, which will highlight findings specific to a variety of industries including apparel, automotive, entertainment, financial services and travel. The vertical reports, it is believed, will benchmark how people use social networking sites to get advice on what to purchase, how they give advice on companies/products through social networks and their likelihood to post vertical specific content.