Social media is changing the behaviors of potential consumers. By combining traditional advertising principles and the features of today’s social networks, brands are able to reach a large audience and disseminate their brand. Through social media, brands bring value to their audience and broaden their viral reach, which in turn impacts consumer’s behavior and attitude toward the brand for the long-term.
The impact social media has on consumer behavior highlights the fact that social media is not a fad but rather a stepping stone to the future. Social media is bridging the gap from the previous generation’s marketing/advertising philosophy with today’s technology which heightens the effectiveness. Before there were social networks, smart phones, and blogs, advertisers used print. They designed beautiful ads that had the right information, branding the company through visuals. They could estimate how many people would be directly exposed to the ad (i.e. subscribers) but they couldn’t determine how many sales they made directly because of it. That didn’t mean those ads didn’t work. People who were exposed to the brand, felt connected with the brand through their visual ads and when the time came for them to buy product X, Brand X popped into their head. The ad did it’s job, but calculating the ROI is nearly impossible. Social media’s value overlaps this older advertising ideology.
Justifying social media’s value is the great debate. Traditionally, the ROI would be calculated rather quickly by plugging figures into a neat equation. Social media’s value extends beyond raw numbers. Word of mouth is the most coveted type of marketing. A personal referral is much more trusted than an unsolicited marketing message. If you read my “The #1 Reason to Send Traffic to a Facebook Fan Page Rather than a Website” post, I argue why you should send people to your fan page. The main point was the online ripple effect through news feeds. People can see an individual’s association with a brand. This residual and indirect brand affiliation is the SMI (Social Media Impact) of your social media campaign. This SMI is what separates social media from print ads despite their obvious, underlying overlap.
The Social Media Impact is the reason it is pertinent for companies to have their presence on social media sites. These interactions and associations consumers have with brands online are what is changing their purchasing behavior. This is the value of social media. Like print ads, social media presents information, connects emotionally with prospective consumers, and builds awareness for the brand. Again like print ads, it’s difficult to
quantify exactly how many direct sales result from the ad/profile because many of the purchases will occur weeks or months after the online encounter and possibly offline. Unlike print, social media’s clear, online viral spread perpetuates the brand’s message and reach without much effort (Analytics can calculate visitors from social networks to final purchases, but those numbers are not comprehensive due to SMI). Companies are doing themselves a disservice by not assimilating with today’s online climate. Achieving a high SMI will alter a greater number of potential consumer’s purchasing choices, thus benefiting your brand long-term.
Social media impact doesn’t magically occur. Merely signing up for a social profile and posting a message doesn’t help you either. There is no SMI with a static page. With so many people online, you need to give people a reason to come to your page. This is not an easy task, contact Wpromote’s social media team for help integrating your brand on social media. firstname.lastname@example.org // www.facebook.com/wpromote // www.twitter.com/wpromote