It's no news that social media has grown and become a primary way for people to get news and information.
In fact, social media users expect to engage with brands, with 95% of users believing that companies or brands should have a presence in new media, whether it be through a blog, facebook or twitter, said Cynthia Barstow, president of Seed to Shelf: Marketing for Sustainability, and adjunct faculty at the University of Massachusetts focusing on Food and Natural Products Marketing, at the Social Media Savvy for Seafood seminar today. Not only do users expect brands and companies to have a presence in social media, but 89% also expect interaction.
"They want you to share with them about your products," Barstow said. "They want coupons from you, they want promotions, they expect that when you’re on social media, you’ll provide those things. They also expect you to solicit their feedback and they want it."
The main things new media users want from companies or brands is to provide product or service information, offer incentives, solicit feedback on products and services and develop new ways for them to interact with their brands. The top business issues consumers want companies to address through new media channels include the environment, health and wellness and ethics.
While these sites are free to join and participate in, companies need to be willing to invest time, the panel agreed.
"Social media might not cost as much as advertising, but it takes a long commitment, which means you have to have a content plan on what you want to share and talk about," a slide at the show said.
And having specific measurable objectives is key to a successful twitter campaign because you know what you want to accomplish, Bartsow said. Sites like twittersheep.com and tweetstats.com can help provide key words to use in biographies and posts and metrics on tweet densities at different times of the day. For those not knowing where to start, twitter 101 for business at business.twitter.com/twitter101 gives an overview of best practices and how to get things started and Hubspot.com has a webinar on how to use twitter in the B2B industry.
While twitter only allows 140 characters in a post, the results of posting those 140 characters and posting often has the potential to raise consumer awareness greatly.
"140 characters doesn’t mean 140 characters," Barstow said, adding that including links to sites, blogs, and articles is critical. "It means 140 characters to engage, then you have an opportunity to talk to people further if they’re interested."