As the Internet era began, Web sites such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, and many others we fail to mention in this presentation have emerged. Public interaction has enabled consumers to voice an opinion, share experiences and simply reach out. Transition from monologue types of media, mainly used by television broadcasting, converged to dialogs. As a result, the traditional content recipient, who watched television ads for decades, became the content contributor. Businesses realized this convergence, and tapped into the information and feedback ocean, which in the past they could get only by allocating humongous budgetary funds for marketing surveys.
The user pumps information into the social media spaces, content gets published, and trends and preferences are drawn from published content. From there products and services are - that were created based on user feedback - placed on the social media interfaces to trigger the user’s attention. This is how we describe the continuous cycle of social media for business-to-consumer environments. The name of the game became “Engagement”. The more engaged the business is with the consumer, the more precise a one-to-one relationship is generated out of the interaction. Without a doubt this cycle creates leaner marketing strategies where measurements such as conversion per click exist to rapidly evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies.
Each social media tool functions differently to deepen consumer relationship. Blogs, branded social media network sites and other Web sites - where the content is distributed, discussion forums exist, innovation hubs are created (by central consumer community) to foster innovation , Wikis exist, Twitter exist and ratings/reviews exist - had their own affect on creating consumer trends.
The study done by Wetpaint and Altimeter ranks the top 100 companies for engagement. The graphs shown (this one and the one that follows) were created from the engagement rankings. The conclusion is that the greater the number of social media channels employed, the higher the engagement rate. The engagement scores, for the auto companies shown on the chart, also correlate with revenues of the companies. The higher the engagement, the higher the revenues. The dotted line represents the median to set the standard for the industry.
Once you begin a social media program, it is an on-going process. You cannot quit. Carefully pick channels and only engage in areas that make good business sense or meet the needs of the brand. Toyota encourages its employees to engage in the company’s social media channels.
This graph shows the performance of technology companies in the social media engagement game. The dotted line represents the median to set the standard for the industry.
Traditionally the buying cycle in B2B takes longer than B2C. Therefore, having an open door of communication between the potential customer and an online community manager could be the determining factor when it is finally time to make a decision. That open door is the social media’s engagements through selectively targeted networks. Anyone who has valuable input or feedback is included in the SAP social media network, which utilizes forums for feedback on possible an idea or a potential opportunity. Product managers use the social media tools to communicate information about their new products. As far as selection strategy of social media networks, SAP engages in channels where clients (people) already exist. SAP’s Twitter channel invites current users to communication to learn about customer needs. The open-end communication strategy is also a reflection of the organizational culture at SAP. The end goal is to enable SAP consumers to be more successful, so that they buy more SAP products and services.
As we looked at both B2B and B2C practices for social media, it is inevitable that proper implementation and usage of social media promises a great value for both public consumers and enterprises. Not only does social media promise more precise product and service determination, but it also signals great economical benefits, especially as marketing efforts become more condensed and measurable. However, there remains a great deal of privacy issues yet to be addressed.