Consumer and customer behaviour is changing in front of our eyes. As a result, there is a lot of talk about how our marketplaces are changing, the influence of digital channels, the importance of word of mouth, how social media channels are allowing customers to find and share us with their friends and networks and how we as businesses should be adapting.
However, one of the things that I find when I talk to business owners is that they are often confused about what sort of activity they should be getting involved in in online and social channels. As a result, they often get caught up in how they can maximise their number of fans or followers. But, more fans and followers don’t necessarily mean greater word of mouth or more sales and greater profitability.
Let’s be clear. Sharing is not new. People have been sharing great companies, cool stuff, tips or deals with their friends and family since time began. However, what is new is that it’s getting a whole lot easier to do so. So, as a business, to tap into the sharing potential that surrounds your business and to get the most out of sharing, word of mouth and recommendation for your business it is becoming increasingly important to not just understand and engage your customers but also those people that are finding and sharing your business with their friends and contacts in the online world.
A recent study of US and UK consumers by the folks at Beyond looked into this very issue. Here’s some of the things that they found out:
- Over 65% of sharers, share because they think it will be relevant or helpful to their friends
- There are 7 different types of sharer in the UK
- Before embarking on any new social marketing activity it is important that the business understand their customers journey
- Different online channels exert different levels of influence depending on the level of risk (involvement) on the part of the customer. For example, when researching a high risk (involvement) purchase like a car, customers are more likely to look to and be influenced by review sites, search engine results and the business’ own website rather than other online channels.
- When it comes to sharing, email is still king