As marketers, we’re always chasing them and figuring out what they like or don’t. Most recently, the trend is to strike conversations, hear their stories and tell ours, or in more popular terms: engage.
How to truly engage with our consumers continues to be the Holy Grail that we all chase. Fortunately, working at a company whose only business is connecting people, I do have some thoughts on what makes our uber-social consumers tick.
The Tribe Has Arrived
The most fundamental thing that defines today’s consumer is the desire to participate - a tribe mentality of sorts where community trumps everything. This is a generation that thrives on sharing - and companies, brands, and platforms that help them do so are rewarded with their attention and loyalty.
In a recent report from SocialTwist, “The Connected Consumer in 2013: Brand Advocacy Trends from 100+ Social Campaigns,” almost a fifth of the 3.2 million consumers reached advocated brands to their family and friends.
Collectively, they connected with 9 million people (i.e. on an average every single consumer told 15 friends and family about companies, products and services they liked or felt were worth their friend’s notice). And for every two consumers who became advocates, one new customer engaged with the brand.
Let’s face it, the only thing better than making a great find is sharing it with others. But what makes this exchange so powerful is the juxtaposition of experiences that makes even the familiar seem fascinating.
Think about it. It’s one thing receiving a message about this deal on a great new bike, it’s another hearing the same from a friend who tells you about the bike and rekindles the passion you both shared for biking as kids.
The connected consumers have given brands a voice they never had, but knowing how to mobilize and enable them is the first step to marketing ROI.
55 percent of brand advocates prefer to share information, deals and incentives via email, compared to 42 percent for Facebook and just 3 percent for Twitter.
Email, while often considered archaic, is still highly credible as a tool for brand advocates to share information. Not only is email the preferred digital channel to share, it is also the biggest driver of new customers (51%), when compared Twitter (27%) and Facebook (22%).
The bottom line is that everything that connects people is social. If your channel strategy puts Email in a different bucket, you must rethink your approach.
So what can we do to start tapping into these billons of exchanges? Ditch marketing and create content that reminds people of why your product, brand or service is a part of their lives in the first place. Spark conversations and give consumers a chance share and tell their story even if it is just to their immediate friends and family.
Consumers are already talking – Nielsen reports that 92 percent of people said they trust recommendations from friends more than any commercial messaging – we just need to join in.
Don’t take my word for it. The proof’s in the data.