Monday, October 13, 2008

Study Indicates Consumers Want Social Media Interaction from Businesses

Posted By Amanda Walsh

Last week, the Center for Media Research released a study showing that consumers want to converse with companies via social media. According to a 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interacts more than once per week.

This insightful study indicated that "93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while 85% believe a company should not only be present, but should also interact with its consumers via social media."

Below is more of the astounding information from the social media study.

When Americans were asked about specific types of interactions, what they wanted to accomplish through the social media contact with a company:

• 43% say that companies should use social networks to solve their consumer problems
• 41% want companies to solicit feedback on their products and services
• 37% feel that companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand
• 33% of men and 17% of women interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media

And eMarketer reports that according to 2008 research from shopping comparison site PriceGrabber, "Generation Y (those born after 1979) online buyers are more immersed in online and mobile activities than any other generation. Eighty-five percent of Gen Y respondents said they participated in social networking, and 57% reported they were involved with blogs."

Results from an August 2008 survey of Web merchants, sponsored by Internet Retailer, found that, of the 39.3% of retail respondents that use social networks, 32% have a page on Facebook, 27% on MySpace and 26% on YouTube.

What does this study from various resources mean for public relations?
The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study shows the growing popularity of social media and the ease of reaching consumers online. This research also shows that consumers feel a closer association with companies when they are able to network with them in a social media setting. Savvy public relations practitioners need to acknowledge the preferences of their target audiences and engage in specific social media outlets with them in order to gain feedback and information.

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