Brands Need to Align Socially with Consumers’ Needs

By Mark Evans - Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 7:30 am  

Social media’s potential to engage and connect with consumers is a major reason why brands have jumped on the bandwagon.

In theory, social media is an attractive “sandbox” because consumers are spending a lot of time using services such as FAcebook, Twitter and YouTube. With so much activity, it’s a no-brainer for any marketer looking for large audiences.

But here’s an important consideration for brands: they have to make sure their interest in leveraging social media aligns with the needs of consumers. In other words, while marketers want to drive interest in their products, they also have to make sure they are offering value to consumers.

This challenge was addressed in a recent study by Pitney Bowes Software in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia that looked at how enthusiastically marketers were embracing social media versus how many consumers were using them.

In the graph below, what pops out is how more brands (57%) are using Twitter, compared with 31% of Internet users globally. There is also a brand-user gap on Google+ and LinkedIn. On the other hands, there are more Internet users on Facebook and YouTube than brands.

While there are many ways to interpret the study, one of the key lessons for brands is being focused on why they need to be on a particular platform other than the fact there are many consumers are on it.

Some of the key questions include:

1. Why do brands want to be there?

2. What do brands want to achieve?

3. How are they going to meet the needs of consumers?

4. How will brand define success?

There are questions a brand needs to ask other than simply jumping into the fray based on the idea that having a presence will attract consumers.

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