Making Connections With Social Media
Remember when organizations spent a small fortune on focus groups to get a sense of what customers thought of their products? Those sessions--which at times could be painful to endure as a participant and an observer--may be fading into the past. With social media, companies can access a much larger pool of customers and get a sense of their opinions about products and services in an unfiltered fashion. As a result, the vast majority of companies are using Facebook, Twitter and other sites to both gauge opinion and engage consumers, according to a recent survey from InSites Consulting. "Social media makes conversations between consumers very transparent," says Steven Van Belleghem, a partner at InSites. "Companies can easily discover what people are saying about their products and services. An increasingly growing group is strongly interested—with good reason—in this real-time feedback from the market." He cautions companies to go beyond posting a social media account and letting it sit there. "This results in static corporate pages where nothing really happens," Van Belleghem says. "It too often leads to mere presence, not engagement." More than 1,220 managers and business owners in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France took part in the research.