Sometimes we overlook the fact that brands and companies have a totally different perception of the role of social media—and how it can help their business—from that of their customers. This is an interesting info graphic of a survey conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value that pits business owners’ perceptions of why consumer want to interact with brands via social sites against the reasons expressed by consumers.
It is reflexive on the part of brands to think that consumers are hungry to learn more about their products. After all, it’s just another communications channel through which we (the brand) needs to “get its message out.” But social is far from broadcast, and certainly not a one-way street. “What I want to say” is replaced by “What will engage my customer?”
And according to consumers themselves, the simple truth about customer engagement lies in the “What’s in it for me?” syndrome. What do I gain if I “like” you? So here it comes: As obvious as it may sound, what you are about to read can dramatically impact your brand’s success within social media, so much so that it might be considered a Golden Rule. Ready? Wait for it…The secret to marketing via social media is to always provide value.
What can a brand or company provide that is of real, tangible value to a consumer? Well, the ability to buy is most obvious, followed by the ability to buy at discount. Coupons, giveaways, added value offers, and chances to win prizes are clear, bottom-line values that enhance the brand proposition, and sustain the interest of fans.
Information and customer service are other forms of value that can instill a longer term commitment in consumers. Interactivity through product review and suggestion box ideas are complementary values that can complete the consumer/brand circle, and can convert fans to evangelists. But according to the consumers themselves, these are less valuable.
As a consumer, what brands have you “liked” on Facebook? What is the attraction, and how are they sustaining your interest in them?