The Power of Social Media

Just the other day one of my fellow Digital Marketing classmates pointed out to me that every time I open up my web browser, the first thing I automatically do is click on the Facebook bookmark tab. It doesn’t matter the reason I was getting online to do – no matter what it is, it will have to wait at least a minute and a half (ok, lets be honest – most of the time a lot longer…) while I check out what everyone else is up to. At first I was kind of embarrassed being called out on my social media addiction. But then I read the Nielson Social Media Report and I didn’t feel too bad anymore. You know why? Because everyone else is doing it, too.

I would list off all these cool stats to you, but why would I do that when Nielson’s graphic designers were kind enough to create some cool info-graphics for us to look at:

State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012

You know who else is noticing these statistics? That’s right – businesses. And they would be stupid not to do something about it. Social media is shaping the way consumers make their purchasing decisions. Word of mouth has always been influential – but now it has taken on a whole new level! In the past word of mouth only came from those you interacted with in your every day routine. With Facebook, Twitter, and access to online reviews, word of mouth is now coming from your acquaintances, celebs you idolize, and even strangers whose opinions and reviews you decide to trust.

On top of it all, smart phones and tablets are only make it easier and fuel our social media addiction. We now have devices constantly on us enabling us to participate in social media on the go, wherever, whenever. (Fun little fact: research shows that mobile users can’t leave their phone alone for six minutes and check it up to 150 times a day).

So what does this look like for a company? 

Nowadays, if you are sitting on the couch watching TV, there is a big chance that you are on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet participating in social media throughout the whole show, maybe even tweeting about whats going on in the show. The geniuses at Bluefin Labs have worked out an algorithm to make sense of your social media chatter. With that information, they can in real time let a TV show know if viewers are pumped up and loving what they are seeing, or if its all around hated and needs to be pulled before wasting any more money. By analyzing tweets, BlueFin also has the ability to see what kind of advertisements resonate with the viewers of a particular show. One example given in the Boston Globe article on Bluefin (you should really check it out – its CRAZY what they are doing!) was how Bluefin Labs was able to find that a Verizon ad ran during both the NBA and NHL playoffs was hated by a large portion of viewers. The ad showed a mother and daughter crying hysterically over the daughter moving out of the house, (I saw the ad and found it to be hilarious… but then again, I  also wouldn’t be classified in the same demographics as an NBA playoffs viewer), but thanks to Bluefin being able to make sense of what everyone was saying about it over social media, Verizon had time to switch ads. This time the ad showed a father and son’s emotionless interaction, and everyone loved it!

Theres also this thing called Social Care…

… and if done correctly, a company can have a profound effect on a consumer’s experience. Nowadays, consumers are not shy about broadcasting their complaints with a brand or product, and a company’s twitter or Facebook page is a good place for them to publicly do so. Statistics show that one in three social media users say they prefer to use social media rather than the phone for customer service issues. If a company is smart, they will pay attention to these comments and respond to that disgruntled customer, not only publicly showing that they are willing to make things right, but they also create a personal experience for the customer, making them feel appreciated.

But do be smart about it – you don’t want to end up being the one to blame behind this whole Applebee’s hilariously epic PR disaster!

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