The proposed incorporation of Twitter and Facebook statuses into search engine results will change the user experience of Google, with consumer-generated content ranking alongside corporate websites. This is extremely integral as it allows consumer-generated content to reach the mainstream. This in turn means that brand image within social media is now more important than ever before.
2009 has seen many companies taking to the social media stage in order to sell and promote their product. Initially this provided brands with a platform to advertise their product directly to their target market. However now consumers are seeking a different relationship with the brands they choose to follow.
Consumers don’t want to be targeted with advertising. They want to build a relationship with the brands they choose to engage with. This desire to buy into an experience is reflected in the success of recent campaigns such as Cadbury’s “Nibbles Boutique” and Levi’s “Go Forth Fortune” as well as an increase in the use of “Freemium” products and services to encourage consumers to interact with a brand.
A recent survey by Razorfish showed that 43% of people follow a brand on Twitter because of exclusive deals, whilst a further 37% of people “friend” a brand on Facebook or Myspace because of special deals. Add to this the 70% of users that have participated in brand-sponsored contests and sweepstakes and you’ve got an awfully large audience ready to get involved with what you have to offer.
But that doesn’t mean you can become complacent as 73% say they post product or brand reviews on sites such as Amazon, Yelp, Facebook and Twitter. And 93% of all users say their digital experience determines whether they purchase a particular brand or product.
And there’s no excuse for providing a great consumer experience when you consider that Tech-savvy consumers have now become the norm. A recent survey showed that:
• 57% of consumers customize their homepage
• 76% watch online videos
• 62% use online music services
• 56% own a smartphone
And with the growing “fan culture” that now surrounds brands, there’s ample opportunity to take advantage of these developments, but it is crucial that any consumer interaction is done correctly or the brands risk doing more harm than good. And nobody wants their dirty laundry aired on Google!
All data sourced from Razorfish