Wednesday, October 13, 2010 09:53 AM
Email has long been the primary channel for companies to connect with online shoppers and provide them with a variety of content ranging from new product announcements to printable coupons. However, social networking sites are beginning to provide marketers with a superior opportunity to reach social media users. According to a report conducted by The Nielsen Company, Americans are spending nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs and less than ten percent of their time online emailing. In addition, 38 percent of social media users said they access social networking sites on their mobile phone once a day or more according to a report published by ROI Research in conjunction with Microsoft titled “The Future of Mobile Advertising". As social networking sites continue to rise in popularity, marketers may want to reconsider what internet channel they're using to connect with social media users.
According to our Social Media Research Services, S-Net, roughly 60 percent of appliances respondents and automobile purchasers believe that fan-based communication on social networking sites are beginning to replace other communication channels (e.g., email, direct mail, etc.). Although email will still remain a viable option, it may be more effective to provide certain content through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube rather than using email.
Allowing social media users to determine which channel they receive various types of content could greatly increase customer satisfaction and bolster sales. For example, social media users could decide whether they prefer to receive product information, sales announcements, and printable coupons through social networking sites or through email. Companies can provide purchase history via email while keeping social media users informed about a new sales announcement or a special deal through social networking sites. Marketers who are skeptical of putting power in the hands of the consumers can always turn to market research to help guide their marketing initiatives.
The fact is; social media users are extremely interested in receiving various types of content and services through social networking sites. Between October 2009 and April 2010 there was nearly a 20 percent increase in the number of social media users who agreed that social networking sites are a good source of information about companies and products. More importantly, a large percentage of social media users said they enjoy interacting with companies on social networking sites and trust the information they receive through them more than the information they see in other channels (e.g., email, direct mail, etc.).
Companies have a terrific opportunity to reach social media users through social networking sites. Identifying whether or not your customers are social media users, evaluating the types of information they're interested in receiving and providing content though the proper channel could potentially increase sales, reduce costs, and strengthen customer awareness. Social networking campaigns used in conjunction with email communications enable companies to better serve their social media users.