The explosion of social media as a virtual meeting place has pressured businesses to use it to locate customers. Businesses have begun this quest by increasing their online presence on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. They have also expanded their marketing effort by participating on media sharing sites like YouTube and Pinterest. However, companies face challenges monitoring and managing these sites. Realizing this fact, businesses employ social media management systems like HootSuite.
A system like HootSuite provides analytical tools to monitor and measure fans and follower’s comments and activities. Unfortunately, even with this data, most businesses still fail to fully understand consumers’ behavior. Why is this so? The answer lies in businesses’ misconceptions about why consumers use social media in the first place. Due to these misconceptions, businesses are falling short when attempting to make the most of their social media efforts.
What Businesses Think About Consumers and Social Media
Here are the top five reasons businesses think consumers follow them on social media:
1. They want to learn about new products.
2. They want to obtain general information.
3. They want to submit opinions on products or services.
4. They want to search for exclusive information.
5. They have a desire to read reviews on and rank products.
This list shows that many businesses believe potential customers use social media sites to learn about their latest products and to find general information. They also think consumers want to post their opinion on products or services. In addition, they believe consumers are looking for exclusive information about products or services.
What Consumers Actually Use Social Media For
These are the top five reasons consumers say that actually use social media:
1. To obtain discounts.
2. To make purchases.
3. To review and rank products.
4. To find general information.
5. To search for exclusive information.
Consumers use social media primarily to locate discounts or coupons. They also rank making purchases as their second reason, followed by reviewing and ranking products. Furthermore, they list looking for general and exclusive information as their fourth and fifth interests respectively.
When the results between the two groups are compared, the perception gap is highly noticeable. Consumers use social media to seek tangible value. This is the main reason they seek discounted prices or bargains. Unfortunately, this important reason is not shared by businesses. Instead, they believe consumers follow them on social media mostly to learn about their new products.
Consumers will follow and interact with businesses only if it is beneficial to them. In this environment, they are in total control of these interactions. If a company posts discount codes or redeemable coupons, consumers will connect in order to receive the benefit. As a result, businesses need to comply with the social media users’ interests in order to successfully convert them into customers.
If your business is involved in social media marketing, understanding the reality of consumer behavior is crucial for getting results from your social media marketing efforts.