Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Americans Expect Companies to Have Social-Media Presence

This is an excellent article from The implication for companies is that having a website is not enough. People expect to be communicated to wherever they are - whether it is on a social networking site, a forum, discussion group, or even via blogs. In talking with clients, I've always advocated never letting a charge go unanswered. The Cone and Business Study now shows this as a trend because younger generations are even more involved in social media.

Americans Expect Companies to Have Social-Media Presence

An overwhelming majority (93%) of online Americans say companies should have a social-media presence, and 85% believe these companies also should be interacting with consumers through social media, according to research from Cone.

The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study also reveals the depth and breadth of social media interaction with companies. Some 60% of Americans interact with companies using social media, one in four interact more than once per week, and 56% feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they interact via social media.

Asked about specific types of interactions, respondents said:

  • Companies should use social networks to solve their problems (43%).
  • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%) via social media.
  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%) through social media.
  • Companies should market to consumers (25%) using social media.

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

Other findings:

  • Men are twice as likely than women interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% vs. 17%).
  • One-third of younger, hard-to-reach consumers (age 18-34) believe that companies should actively market to them via social networks.
  • The wealthiest households (household income of $75K+) also believe that companies should seek to reach them via social media.
  • Two-thirds of the wealthiest households and the largest households ( those with three or more members) feel stronger connections to brands they interact with online.

“All of this is great news for marketers,” Hollywood said. “Men and younger consumers are traditionally the most challenging to reach, while the highest-income households are typically very desirable; here they are saying ‘come market to us and interact with us online.’ This is really a license to put more energy and resources into this medium and do it effectively.”

About the study: The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study was conducted online, September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation. It surveyed 1,092 adults comprising 525 men and 567 women 18 and older.

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