Consumers prefer social media to email, so should we

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I was the expert blogger in this week’s edition of Management Today on innovation in business. Having written about the Nielsen Global Faces and Networked Places report earlier this week, I decided to build on this post about how social networks and online communities are more popular than email.

The report from Nielsen clearly highlights the growth in consumer use of social media – it is now visited more regularly than email with one out of eleven minutes worldwide (one in every six minutes in the UK) spent on these sites. This is for structural and behavioural reasons – people using different sites for different purposes, and people using social networks and online communities to find and connect with people rather than just sending mail – but what can business learn from this change in consumer behaviour. Well, probably a lot. As I write in the Management Today article:

When I speak at marketing conferences, I like to ask the audience whether they spend more on email marketing or on social media. The answer is almost always email, and this is a shame. Not only are social networks and online communities increasingly part of everyday life, they can also be a better way of engaging customers. Email is very much in the ‘push’ marketing category, while online communities and social networks engage people. Most importantly, they encourage peer-to-peer marketing, which we know people trust more than messages from any brand.

In the current economic climate, businesses should innovate to stay ahead of their competition. This is a great time for trying new things and an even better time for adapting and changing the way we behave to better meet what our customers want and what our customers do. They are using social media more than email and doing thanks to both changes in technology and changes in their own behaviour. We should adapt our own approach to marketing to and engaging with customers to capitalise on this change

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9 Responses
  • Social Media Introduction for the Travel & Tourism Industry | Fun Anymore
    Mar 14, 2009

    [...] Consumers prefer social media to email, so should we (freshnetworks.com) [...]

    Social Media Introduction for the Travel & Tourism Industry | Fun Anymore Mar 14, 2009
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  • [...] « Consumers prefer social media to email, so should we [...]

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  • Robin Houghton
    Mar 15, 2009

    “When I speak at marketing conferences, I like to ask the audience whether they spend more on email marketing or on social media. The answer is almost always email, and this is a shame.”

    Agreed, it is a shame, but it is still the reality. Email may not be the medium of choice for the under 30s, but it’s not yet dead for majority of the population. It’s proven itself as something that delivers.

    Surely if a business starts from the premise ‘who is my target market and what’re the communications tools that most resonate with them?’ then the choice of medium presents itself.

    Don’t despair – as ‘received marketing intelligence’ changes (ie professors of marketing get younger!), so the principles of the social web will prevail. Until then, business should be working to integrate established channels such as email marketing with experimental forays into social media.

    Robin Houghton Mar 15, 2009
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  • [...] lots of discussion of Twitter and social media at the moment and people are now spending more time on social media sites than email. These sites don’t just offer us a way of doing old things in new ways, they also let us do [...]

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  • Michael
    Mar 23, 2009

    i want to know the bad effect the new social media has and also the positive influences it has on new social media.

    Michael Mar 23, 2009
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  • May 22, 2009

    Everyone has his own theory bout Social Media MArketing I guess but all r interesting n social media is real fun. I agree SM gives your business lot more exposure that too at very low cost.

    Events in Delhi May 22, 2009
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  • Synthesio
    May 22, 2009

    Great article about Social Media, Matt. The fact that Internet users are using social media more than e-mail can actually be an opportunity for many businesses, and they don’t even realize it. Like you said, e-mail is much more of a “push” approach whereas social media can start “pull” dynamics, as we, as consumers, value the opinions of our friends, families, and peers more than those that are pushed onto us through corporate marketing strategies. Monitoring what is being said in both traditional and social media can help companies work WITH the customer in creating relationships; kudos to your final comment that “we should adapt our own approach to marketing to and engaging with customers to capitalise on this change”.

    Best,
    Michelle
    Synthesio

    Synthesio May 22, 2009
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  • Twitted by Synthesio
    May 22, 2009

    [...] This post was Twitted by Synthesio – Real-url.org [...]

    Twitted by Synthesio May 22, 2009
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  • [...] in the amount of time that people spend in social networks – we know that they are spending more time in social networks than in email. The role of social networks is changing, and it is in this change that investors may be seeing the [...]

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