Social Commerce: Active Social Media Users Say Companies Can Do More with Social Networks
The Digital Third Place: Facebook
Many years ago, Starbucks set out to become a “third place” for customers, an inviting and welcoming community between home (the first place) and work (the second place). The concept is derived from The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg who argued that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
Certainly, Starbucks’ third place strategy has proven profitable, but it is the digital third place – social media, and in particular Facebook – that has recently added an interesting layer to Oldenburg’s concept.
According to Oldenburg the hallmarks of a true “third place” are: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible; involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there. Sounds a lot like Facebook to me, except for the food and drink part. Though now, through Starbucks Give Real, Facebook users can even share drinks with friends by applying gift credits directly to their credit or debit card.
Consumers Want More Exchange with Companies Online, Not Less
We all know that traditional marketing techniques have become less effective as technology has become better at deterring them. DVRs erase TV commercials, satellite radio bypasses radio commercials, anti-spam ware diverts email campaigns, and caller ID and the do-not-call registry thwart telemarketers. But according to a recent study of active social media users, consumers want more exchange with companies online, not less.
Learning about New Products is an Important Driver of Social Media
According to a new study by Invoke Solutions, active social networkers find benefits of social media use beyond just staying connected with friends and family and viewing the latest funny cats YouTube. Active social networkers say an important driver of social media use is sharing and gathering information and learning about new products.
- 63% say sharing information with network is very or somewhat important
- 59% say gathering information from network is very or somewhat important
- 58% say to learn about new products is very or somewhat important
Active Social Media Users Want More from Brands
Given that active social media users are looking for information about products and brands online, how well do they think companies are doing leveraging social media to these ends? Well, let’s just say there is room for improvement.
- 46% said companies are not doing well using social media to listen to customers
- 46% said companies are not doing well using social media to deliver better customer service
- 50% said companies are not doing well using social media to learn about unmet customer needs
Well, companies, here is some low hanging fruit for you.