Social Gets Down to Business
F acebook’s imminent IPO should put to rest claims that social networking is a short-lived fad. Experts say sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr, Google+ and Svpply, Instagram and Spotify are reshaping shopping and turning old methods of customer engagement upside down. They’re telling retailers to forego ROI metrics — for now, at least — pointing out that investments in social media will yield deeper customer relationships.
It’s been a long time since the retailer-customer relationship existed solely during business hours and within a store’s four walls. Social networking has quickly become part of the cultural fabric of retail.
Nielsen’s Social Media Report, released last fall, quantifies what a powerful influencer of consumer behavior social networking has become. A key finding is that social networks and blogs account for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet. Nearly 80 percent of Internet users visit social networks; the report showed that Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S. website. Sixty percent of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a brand or retailer from a social networking site; 48 percent of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.
Other key findings:
With top tech vendors now providing social sentiment analysis tools, retailers have the chance to gain greater insight into what customers are talking about. The chance to finally understand what IBM has dubbed “the noise on the wire” is a powerful differentiator.