Efforts at using social media to best reach customers continues to resemble an eye exam where the optometrist says, “Is this one better….or this one? This one…or this one?” Lots of trial and error, all aimed at refining solutions and getting clear results.
Recent Gallup survey results suggest we should head back to the drawing board.
According to a ClickZ article, “Marketers who put their brand message on social media…to attract new customers will be sorely disappointed.” This sentiment comes from a 2010 Gallup survey of more than 17,000 social media users, the results of which were released this fall. Gallup researchers say companies would be best advised to use social media and word of mouth to encourage existing customers to recommend their products to friends and prospects, rather than to approach prospects directly.
So instead of expecting to generate sales from new customers, brands should try to generate recommendations from loyalists that lead to sales, according to researchers. Their survey numbers back this up, revealing that 74 percent of loyal customers will say complimentary things through their social networks about the brands they love, and will rarely be negative. That’s contrasted by only 1 percent of disinterested customers complimenting a brand, product or service on their social network.
One surprising finding was that social media initiatives that rely only on digital channels leave out many prospects and customers; the analysis suggests that “the most frequent type of social network is still analog — face-to-face or over the phone.”
According to the survey, word of mouth from a trusted friend or source is still the best way to grow your customer base, although that comes with a caveat for those tempted to throw a wet blanket on social media. “Don’t confuse the channel for the desired outcome,” researchers warn.
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