If the everyday Joe can interact with President-elect Donald J. Trump simply by tapping the Tweet button, shouldn’t it be the same with your business?
Here’s the scoop on social media – it’s not going anywhere. The internet is no longer “just a fad.” Nothing is a fad anymore; it has eternal staying power.
What you may not know is how to utilize social media marketing to empower your business. The short answer – your business needs it. Period.
Here are the hard numbers:
- 89% of companies use social media marketing (eMarketer)
- 45% of digital buyers worldwide say that feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior (eMarketer)
- 47% of millennials find purchasing influenced by social media (Bizjournals)
The numbers get more specific when you look at consumers of particular product categories influenced by social media (Bizjournals):
- 56% of consumers buying baby products
- 40% for home furnishings
- 33% for health and wellness
- 32% for automotive
All of those factors are without looking at the food and beverage industry, where all major fast food chains including Taco Bell, Chik-fil-A, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and more now offer a free app for mobile ordering and pickup (some even feature curbside delivery!).
Business Insider predicts that by 2020, 10% of all fast food ordering will be done by mobile device. The traditional social media services have taken full advantage of these features, too. Facebook has a new Marketplace, Instagram has a “Buy” button, and Snapchat lets users transfer money in the same manner that Paypal pioneered a decade ago.
Here’s how you should be deciphering this data:
Consumers actively want to interact with companies, products, and services directly. In both brick-and-mortar and digital retail, shopping is very one-sided. You can look at a product in a box or on a screen, buy it, and hope for the best. Social conversation broadens the possibilities markedly.
With social buying, a consumer is an active, and interactive, member of a community who experiences a product each step of the process. Social consumers see an ad for a product, and immediately reach for their device. Their Order of Action is as follows:
- Google the product
- Look for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat feeds
- Analyze social interactivity
- Yelp or Amazon for reviews
- Back to Google for price comparison
This reads as lengthy, research-heavy process. It actually all occurs in a matter of seconds and is based solely on intuition. While a consumer doesn’t have the opportunity to speak with a live sales rep in a call center, they get similar 24/7 interaction with fellow buyers. Conversations about products by users are valued far greater than what “the marketing machine” may tell them.
LootCrate, ranked #1 on the 2016 Inc. 500 List, is one example of a business that wholly understands the importance of conversation and experience. LootCrate is a subscription box service of geek goodies, and each month they ship out a mystery box of themed geek toys, apparel, and other collectibles to subscribers. While having license deals with major-player brands like Marvel, DC Comics, and LucasFilm is obviously helpful, LootCrate gets more from the “mystery experience” than anything.
LootCrate started a conversation with its mystery boxes gaining traction during the trend of “unboxing” videos on YouTube. Knowing their power, packaging became LootCrate’s first priority; the packaging encourages sharing the experience on social media, and even provides tips on the perfect unboxing.
My company has adapted similar trends from social media into our personality endorsement marketing category. Having radio and TV talk show personalities personally endorse products attracts the attention of that host’s community. They see someone they trust on their preferred local or national news network talk about a product with great results, and they want the same experience.
Social media ups the opportunity for a sale. Now a listener and viewer can whip out their device, pull up Dana Loesch’s Instagram feed, and see her talking about the product in the ad they just saw – all in real time. If they choose, they can read the comments and join the conversation. Just like that, social media has backed up a call center sale; in 2016, it’s all integrated.
Whether selling direct or supporting a brand, you need to have a social media presence. The major apps have already recognized the push for mobile purchase decision-making and have adopted storefront features.
By Tweeting Domino’s a pizza emoji, I can have a pizza ordered from my phone and delivered to my car curbside while I check e-mails; in five seconds, Twitter can tell me if other users like the vegetable chopper I saw on TV. Social media adds a layer to purchasing that consumers desperately want, and it’s right there in the name: social. Going forward into 2017 and beyond, experiences will only get more conversational and interactive. If you need to reach the President, even he is only a Tweet away.
Charlie Fusco is CEO/Creative Director for Synergixx, LLC.