According to the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 93% of Americans believe that a company should have a presence on social media sites and 85 percent believe that these companies should use these services to interact with consumers. Cone, a Boston-based consulting firm, also found that men are far more likely to interact with a company through social media than women are. 56% of consumers believe that a company is providing them with a better service by interacting with them on social media sites.
The numbers in this study are bit higher than those we have seen before (we assume that Cone uses a relatively broad definition of ‘social media’), though the general trends do fall in line with the latest data from Universal McCann we wrote about last week.
As Michael Chin points out on the KickApps blog, social media first changed how we interacted with friends, family, and customers. Now, as consumers are getting more familiar with these tools, they also expect them to be a way to interact with companies – and based on this data from Cone, they want this to be a two-way conversation.
Here are some other interesting data points from the study:
- 60% of Americans regularly interact with companies on a social media site
- 43% of consumers say that companies should use social networks to solve the consumers’ problems
- 41% believe that companies should use social media tools to solicit feedback on products and services
- Men are more likely to use social media tools to interact with a company than women (33% vs. 17%)
- 33% of younger consumers (18-34) and those with household incomes over $75,000 believe that companies should try to market to them through social networks
It would be nice to see Cone break these numbers down a bit more. What types of social media sites, for example, do users prefer? Are there any specific categories of companies and brands that they want to see on these sites? How exactly do they want to be marketed to? What do they think about implications for their privacy?
What is clear, however, is that social media is quickly becoming an important means for companies to reach consumers – and that consumer are also quickly changing their expectations about how, when, and where they want to be marketed to. As more users are embracing social media (and often to the detriment of traditional media), companies have no choice but to follow them.