It goes without saying that the smartphone-toting social customers today are totally different from the ones of yester-year. Social media, 3G connectivity and wi-fi have changed the speed and way that people are communicating with brands.
Agencies and brands have traditionally paid for consumer’s attention, but the new tools are facilitating a shift whereby brands can earn their own cultural capital. To harness the power of consumer social influence, we need to understand who is out there.
What are the defining characteristics of today’s social customers, and what does it mean for brands who are getting into social? Socialmediatoday has shared some key points which we elaborate on.
1. They are hyper-connected
The smartphone or other internet-enabled device is their constant companion. Whenever in doubt or in need, the first instinct is to Google it on their device. They have several channels available to them from their device such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, in addition to the regular messaging and calling services, for them to share and connect on the go.
What this means for brands: Businesses need to go where the customer goes – it’s essential to have a website, to have a social presence and to keep trying to improve your search engine rankings.
2. They readily reach out to peers and influencers
Social media give customers wide spread access to the opinions and experiences of their family and friends, people they trust. Social consumers are unafraid to ask for recommendations, opinions and help on social channels, and similarly they willingly share their own to their network. So if three of their friends tell the Social Customer they love a particular product, the customer may be a bit more inclined to buy it.
What this means for brands: Once a social consumer is impressed with your product or service, they are likely to spread good words about you. Reaching out to key influencers in social channels can generate a high return through positive word of mouth.
3. They research everything online
Whenever in the slightest doubt, consumers search the web for reviews, advice and forum discussions. they may post a question to Twitter or Facebook asking for opinions on a brand or product.The web provides a great deal of information and now that user reviews are often included, consumers can easily read and evaluate the good, bad and ugly about other customers’ experiences with a product or service.
What this means for brands: Consumers aren’t going to retail shops to find product information when they are starting a purchase decision – instead, many of them first consult your website, online reviews and discussions to shortlist their options. Brands need to provide as much information and support online as possible to help facilitate customers’ information search and convince them of service/product quality.
4. They are share what they think of you
Social customers are not afraid to share their thoughts about you, good or bad. It’s not uncommon for connected customers to use the very sites where they researched your business to also voice their thoughts about your business. They may write blogs or reviews. However, the upside of this is that a brand can quickly respond in the public arena of the Internet. Of course, praise on social and digital channels is excellent and should be trumpeted further if possible. Many brands are afraid of customers posting their complaints, but it’s better to be fully aware of what customers want and need, be able to address the issue and reassure them (along with other customers who may have similar complaints) so you can still retain them. Sharing means more feedback, but it also means a need for constant monitoring.
What this means for brands: The speed and sharing of social channels is not to be feared. These very aspects give brands the ability to be super responsive and to broadcast their customer service excellence and commitment to providing great products and services to everyone. When social is done right, it can be a great and cheap tool for keeping customers happy and engaged.
5. They control the purchasing cycle
The business no longer tells the customer when it’s time to buy, the customer tells the business when they’re ready to buy.
What this means for brands: It’s no longer about dissemination of information and shouting at the customer to buy as it was in traditional models of marketing and advertising. Customers expect brands to listen to them and to give them what they want. They are aware of their social influence and are affected by the influence of others’. With the new tools in
social, brands can keep tabs on what customers want and when exactly they want it – which can be used to develop well-advised and well-timed marketing and sales strategies.
Social has created a permanent change in the way consumers behave and hence is also permanently changing the way we do business. Social will no longer be an option if businesses want to keep up with this new breed of consumer.
It’s not too late to get into this exciting area. Contact us and let’s see how we can bring your brand to where your audience is.