David Ogilvy probably said it best when he noted that, “the consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.” As politically incorrect as that may sound these days (‘they’re your partner/significant other/’), he was undeniably spot-on in his assertion — despite how brands might feel about the consumers that are buying their products (they should love them, really) it is those consumers that ultimately drive the sale of products, and the revenues of brands.
And that’s why Ogilvy argues that brands should treat their consumers as they would treat their partners — as integral to their own success and happiness as anything. A messy divorce between those two — the brand and the consumer — can more often than not be devastating to the bottom line of any company.
Fortunately, social media provides brands with a convenient tool for helping to manage that relationship with their consumers. In fact, I would even argue that, especially now, social media is perhaps the most important medium for brands to manage their consumer relationships.
Consumers Are More Connected Than Ever
With the advent of social media, and particularly with smartphones, consumers are now more connected with brands than they have ever been before. Depending on the company, that can either be a good or bad thing. For companies that haven’t necessarily been successful in connecting with their consumers, or weather PR nightmares (like Chick Fil-A, for example), this can be very, very bad. Those consumers are now more likely than ever to voice bad experiences or issues that they have with your particular company and/or products through social media.
But for businesses that are genuinely connected with their consumers and interested in what they have to say, social media can be huge for managing and even bolstering those relationships. Because consumers literally have the capacity to be connected with brands 24/7, it’s much easier for those brands to have an impact on those consumers and their purchasing habits every day of the week.
Maintaining a social media presence not only enables brands to interact with their consumers on an ongoing basis outside of that initial contact or purchase, but also gives them an additional medium for rewarding them and making them feel special.
Because They’re More Connected, They’re More Likely to Act
Beyond that, because of the fact that consumers are now more connected to brands through social media and their smart phones, they are also more receptive than ever to brands that they have chosen to connect with, or that have reached out to them through social media. Because of that, they are more likely to take action when they are asked to — whether that be ‘liking’ or tweeting a message, or claiming a coupon — by those brands. Currently, around 60% of consumers connect with brands through social media, according to one study by AYTM Market Research.
Additionally, 40% of consumers noted that they were more likely to purchase from brands that were active through social media marketing. Not a staggering number, for sure, but it clearly indicates that social media — and that connecting with consumers, in general — has at least some impact on purchasing decisions.
Clearly, social media activity not only shows consumers that brands are interested in hearing what they are saying and therefore want to give them a means of voicing their own opinions, but it also gives those brands a means of driving increased brand loyalty that would have otherwise been impossible or extremely difficult through traditional means.
How does your brand utilize social media in order to manage consumer relations?
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.