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Do Businesses Need to Be More Social?
By: Dana Severson
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You’ve no doubt heard that traditional marketing is dead. Bill Lee from the Harvard Business Review has told us:
“Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.”
Now, as respected as Lee may be, I have a few qualms with this belief.
Yes, your more traditional marketing efforts don’t hold the same sway as they once did. Consumers have grown accustomed to tuning out this sort of noise, but it’s still valuable for reaching a very large-scale audience. It’s also quite useful for a brand’s overall awareness.
Will these efforts convert? Not as much — at least not to the degree that relationship-based strategies do. Those are more likely to drive sales and grow your business.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by MarketForce, a consulting firm out of Colorado, found that 78% of consumers were influenced by social media posts coming directly from companies. Those made by friends and family, of course, had a little more pull, with 81% of consumers finding these posts influential.
A part of this has to do with exposure. The greater your presence is on social media sites, the more familiar your brand becomes to consumers, which stands to reason. You generate a name recognition that inevitably helps influence sales.
Another part of it has to do with engagement. Social media sites are social — duh, right?
But a byproduct of “being social” is that one-on-one relationship you forge with the consumer. When you engage on a personal level, it encourages loyalty, and loyalty has this way of converting customers into advocates. A nice perk, huh? They talk up your brand. Endorse it to friends and family. Hell, they may even start giving you as gifts this holiday season — and by you, I mean your product, but you probably got the drift.
With 81% of consumers finding some influence in what their friends are saying on social media sites, it would be shortsighted not to be more social. So, where are you on the social media landscape?

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About the Author
Dana Severson is a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant in the Twin Cities area. Find him at his website for a little downhome advice. 
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