How content marketing helps brands connect with social consumers

consumer purchase decisionsAre you making an impression so indelible that your clients can’t help but rave about you? Do your clients go out of their way to recommend you to friends? If not, then you might want to take a good hard look at your social marketing AND customer service.

In a study involving 28,000 consumers from 56 countries, Neilsen recently released research showing that social media has drastically altered the way consumers make purchase decisions.

Neilsen found that 65% of social media users learn about brands by listening to others on social media. 70% of us are sharing about brands on social media and about a third of us make purchase decisions based on what our friends share on social media.

In order to make an impression, you can no longer get away with just sounding and looking impressive. You have to shine like a rock star so that your customers will want to talk about you on social media. Only then, will your brand have the impact you want it to have.

And, as part of that, a content marketing strategy is essential. The Neilsen study found that consumers are hyper-informed about brands and products. In other words, they do their research before they make contact. Consumers are using social media to find more information about brands, check out reviews from other consumers and compare products and pricing.

To understand just how this works here’s a scenario:

Say I am looking for accommodation in Sydney. I share a status update on Facebook and ask: “Can anyone recommend a good 4 star hotel in Sydney?”

Why do I do this first? Because I’d rather get recommendations from people I know, like and trust (or from people my friends know, like and trust) than from anywhere else.

Now, say a Sydney hotel has a Facebook ad campaign running at the same time I post that question. If my keywords and demographic profile are in the campaign’s keyword list, their ad would show up on my Facebook profile.

What’s more, if my friends “like” the hotel’s page, then I would be more likely to click on the ad link and check out the hotel’s page. If the page is crappy and there’s little interaction, I’d probably look elsewhere, but if there is good interaction and I can see that the hotel is responding to questions and comments, and sharing valuable information, I might “like” them.

From there, I’d look for a URL on the “About” section and check out their website. I might then search for reviews on Google before going back to individual friends to ask more questions.

Now, if the hotel has a brochure-style website with little information on it, I’ll bounce back to Facebook or elsewhere pretty quickly. However, if they have loads of well-organised, helpful information, I’ll hang around and check it out.

I’ll then go and look at other suggestions before finally making a decision.

Now imagine that I’ve found three hotels that my friends recommend, that have similar pricing and similar features but one hotel website has articles featuring local activities, events and resources. Which hotel do you think I would be most drawn to?

The Key To Social Marketing

The key to marketing these days is to think less about manipulating your audience and more about providing outstanding service.  Remember, the object is to make an impression so indelible that you’re the first brand to come to mind when a former client is asked for a recommendation.

Whether you have a social media presence or not, consumers are talking about you. And if they’re not talking about you, then they’re talking about your competitors.

What are you doing to ensure your customers are talking about and recommending you to their networks?

*Hat tip to Vincent Nguyen in the Australian Business Owners and Entrepreneurs group on LinkedIn for sharing the link to this study.