The world’s leading global communication and measurement company, Nielsen, just released their newest report, State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012. While the continued growth of social media is no surprise, there are several new trends that you should be aware of.
First, there is the idea of “the global living room” or “social tv.” TV-watching has transformed into a new immediate and shared experience. Over 33% of Twitter users actively tweet about TV-related content, making it a shared experience on a larger scale. People especially love to engage real-time during broadcasted events. TV programs are responding by not only taking in the immediate feedback, but writers are adjusting scripts based on what trends, TV shows promote hashtags for viewers, and they sometimes broadcast live tweets (if appropriate for the program).
Second, social media is transforming customer service. Over half of U.S consumers are communicating with brands through social media. One in three users say they prefer social media to the phone for customer service issues.
Third, more people are shifting towards mobile and more sites integrate social features.
Finally, social media is continuing to impact marketing in a number of ways. Not only are customers more proactive about interacting with other customers, but they are also better informed than ever. Some customers don’t mind seeing ads tailored to them based on their profile information in social media sites now.
What You Can Learn From the Social Media Report
It’s important that any business learn about consumer trends because it affects your career. As consumers are becoming more mobile and more social, we need to be able to meet them there. Here are some of my initial thoughts about the report and ideas that you can apply right away:
- Mobile compatible website: You might not have a website just for mobile users but you should definitely have something that loads quickly and is to scale for mobile users. The amount of traffic coming from smartphones and tablets will only continue to grow and if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, people will look elsewhere.
- It’s all about engagement: I can’t stress this enough. The content on your website and social media should create engagement. Talk about things that interest your target audience, give them a call to action. Don’t just post a link, create some conversation around it. The biggest ambassadors of your brand are your best customers, not your marketing department.
- Make your own global living room: Try scheduling live “tweet-ups,” where you and customers fans can interact. It can be using a hashtag and talking about your new product or it can be about an event that matters to your industry. Get creative and get them talking. Consider having a dedicated hashtag for these live tweeting events where you can interact. Consider using Google Hangouts with your staff and customers to interact online, if it’s appropriate. Consider using video conferencing for live chat/customer service to give a more personal feel.
- Use listening tools: TV programs are using social media tools to listen, you should be too. You can use free services such as Google Alerts, Icerocket, Social Mention, Topsy, or Hootsuite and search for posts about you/your brand. See what people are saying, interact with them. If you see good ideas, learn from them. There’s no excuse to not have some feelers out there to determine how people are reacting to your marketing efforts, branding, products, etc.
Customers are your lifeline.
You should be investing the time, energy, and money into outreach efforts. Marketing yourself in a way that your target audience appreciates and understand is just a part of that picture. Check out the report on Nielsen and see what ideas you can come up with!