New media, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, online games, and mobile devices, along with web sites and email, has enabled consumers to have a voice more than ever before and to feel that they have an effect on business and corporate responsibility. In fact, according to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation, 62% of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing their opinions online.
Consumers are using new media to research products and the corporations that make those products, and are making buying decisions based on what they read. Positive information leads to sales, while negative information leads to consumers switching brands and even boycotting certain brands or products. This is particularly true of issues concerning the environment, health and wellness, safety, ethics, and human rights. It wasn’t that long ago, if you recall, that a large number of consumers were boycotting all products made in China because of the safety issues with several children’s products made there.
New media is giving consumers a voice, and a way to share information in real time.
They want to know what is in products and how they are made. They are interested in the community involvement of corporations, their philanthropy, and even in the way they treat their employees. For the most part, they trust what they are reading through new media channels and feel confident that companies who engage in conversation through new media outlets are being honest and transparent.
Companies can utilize new media to build trust with consumers, to find out what is important to them and to make changes as needed. New media is forcing corporations to be more responsible members of the community at large.
If you haven’t joined in the conversation yet, now is the time to get started. Social media should be a part of your 2010 Marketing Plan. It is expected that 59% of businesses will be adding social media to their marketing mix this year.
Once you’ve started, utilize traditional media on a regular basis to generate interest and lead consumers to the online conversation. Then, keep them engaged.