One of the most frustrating things that happens during my meetings with potential clients is the “shifting in the seat” that occurs whenever I talk about Social Media. “You mean, for us?” Despite my best efforts and handing out of copies of Groundswell or talking about the big “billion” users prediction, and explaining the massive graying of social networks, Social Media is still often perceived as a time-wasting, edgy, esoteric practice for teenagers often shunted to the I.T. department along with the company website. I admit, I’m still looking for the right approach to the conversation about the huge potential and risk reduction this kind of activity brings.
So it always excites me to see well-executed studies like this study presented by Cone Research of 1092 adults aged 18 or older who were asked about what they thought of companies participating in Social Media.
- 60 percent of Americans interact with companies on a social media website.
- 25% interact with companies on a social media website more than once per week.
- 93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media.
- 85% (!!!) believe a company should be active with customers in social media.
- 56% of Americans feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them on a social media environment.
- Men are twice as likely to interact frequently on social media frequently
- 30% of the difficult 18-34 group believe that companies should use social media to market to them.
- 30% of those with household incomes over $75,000 believe companies should market to them via social media, and two thirds of these people say they feel a stronger connection to companies they interact with in this way.
These are impressive numbers. When asked in detail about the interactions that they ‘expect’
- Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
- Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)
- Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)
- Companies should market to consumers (25%)
Here’s the thing this study amplifies.
Social Media Engagement is not something you learn on a corporate off-site. It’s not something you leave to your I.T. guys/gals. It’s not something you can ignore.
It takes time and commitment. It takes practice and thoughtfulness before you actually need to depend on it to save your rear. To be less familiar with social media than your consumer, or to expect they won’t notice your social media incompetence is a very dangerous position to be in when the whole world is watching.
chart from Brian Solis used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License