Social media can be the accelerant for red-hot marketing and sales or for marketing and sales disaster. What makes the difference? Good product information.
After my last blog post, I started thinking more about the impact of what IDC calls “MSM marketing,” meaning “mobile and social media marketing.” The last post emphasized the “mobile.” But I also want to elaborate on the “social media” and why it’s making sound product information so important.
First, at a minimum, social media are yet another channel through which companies publish or promote their product content. The more channels you use, logically the more important it is that your product information is correct, consistent, and current.
But these media are much more dynamic and immediate than Web sites and e-commerce. Content on a Web page is typically only read and updated on occasion. But social media are constantly read and updated. In fact, marketing consultant David Meerman Scott calls social media “real-time media.” When you think about social media like that, it becomes even more important for companies to make sure their product information is reliable.
And even more significant is the way social media are used. They are typically used by people to stay in touch and share information with their friends and work colleagues. Here are some compelling statistics that show just how powerful a vector social media are for sharing product information:
When asked what sources “influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product,” 71% claim reviews from family members or friends exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence. (Harris Interactive, June 2010)
53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product. (ROI Research for Performance, June 2010)
The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)
In a social networking study, 81 percent of respondents said they’d received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision. (Click Z, January 2010)
If you provide bad information on your Web site or in an e-mail, social media make it much easier for people to share that bad information faster and wider. And the “black eye” that results is that much worse.
Combined with mobile communication and commerce, social media creates the “omnichannel marketing” environment that gives people perpetual opportunities to share product information with others, and to shop and to buy those products. If the information is good, that’s great. If it isn’t…then consider a PIM platform for reliable product content.