Social Media is undoubtedly exploding. And it is helping to create new ways for organizations to communicate, share ideas and relate to employees, consumers, partners and other stakeholders. The key concept behind Social Media is creating on-line communities that allow people to get information, opinions, solutions and ratings directly from each other rather than from organizations. Social Media is a great example of a critical shift from customer management to customer engagement. Customer engagement provides company management and customers with the ability to learn from one another, utilizing insight from such engagement to deepen relationships and can be used internally to deepen relationships with employees and external distribution partners.
Recent research shows that Social Media networks are transforming Internet usage in the US and worldwide. At present, the growth of the three main Social Media platforms: Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter have been so tremendous that they are now as iconic as Google. In addition, blogs are playing a key role in the growth and use of Social Media.
The amount of money/resources being spent on Social Media is quite astounding as indicated by recent Social Media stats:
• 1.3 billion people are online (Groundswell)
• Community members spend 54% more than non-members (e-bay)
• Remain customers 50% longer than non-community users (Forum One Networks)
• 56% of on-line community members log on once a day or more (Center for Digital Future)
• Members visit your site 9 times as often and view 4 times the pages as non-members (McKinsey)
• 66% of business decision-makers start their purchase research at a search engine; even more, 69%, use Social Media (Motorola)
It is quite evident that Social Media is now a way of life – it is now the No. 1 interactive source for buyers. In fact, buyers would rather interact with others in an online community than listen to a presentation from a vendor’s sales rep, Webcast or tradeshow. Ultimately, online communities are becoming the predominant way to exchange information.