The balance of power has shifted from brands to consumers. For as long as media and commerce have existed, brands have largely been in control of their message. Brands determined how and when to communicate with their audience, giving them significant control over their reputation. With the rapid rise of social media, the balance of power has shifted to the consumer. Nearly half of the world’s population is sharing its opinions and values across social media daily, shaping public perception and influencing purchasing decisions at enormous scale.
Consumer expectations are high. Consumers demand brands be present and responsive across social networks, with more than 80% anticipating a response to a social media message within 24 hours according to Altitude. Author Jay Baer found that 39% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within one hour and, according to The Sprout Social Index, 23% of consumers have indicated they would boycott a brand after a negative social interaction.
Unprecedented business intelligence. We believe social media provides the largest source of business intelligence that has ever existed. Real-time consumer opinions, market trends, competitive insights, product performance and market research can be measured and analyzed using social data. Business decisions and strategy can be derived and validated more efficiently with data available at a larger scale than ever before.
Consumers are forcing adoption. Social media is becoming the default communication channel for consumers in coveted demographics. Consumers are expressing their opinions and talking to and about brands through billions of posts per day. Most organizations are not equipped for this new reality and must adjust their business processes and implement tools to manage this new communication channel.
The stakes are incredibly high for brands. Social media gives consumers the power to put everything a brand does into the public eye and under a microscope. A misstep on social media is magnified and can lead to boycott or brand erosion overnight. The need for centralized tools with the necessary workflows, security and visibility across an organization has never been more critical. A mistake over email or the telephone is typically isolated to the sender and recipient. A mistake on social is public, permanent and can be catastrophic.
Given the importance of social to enterprises, we actually made an investment in the space we’re quite proud of: Soci, Inc. Soci is especially powerful for franchisors, property managers, and brands to manage their social presence. Soci is a best in class in our view (it’s why we invested), and the points Sprout brings up are true: business that ignore social do so at their own peril.
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