Social Networking sites have seen a phenomenal growth in number of users in the last one year. Brian Solis has estimated that for August 2009, Facebook recorded 110 M unique visitors from US and 370 M globally. Similarly, Twitter registered 24 M unique visitors from US and 66 M worldwide. Following table illustrates the growth in traffic to top 20 social networking sites among US internet users in one year:
It is evident that internet users are flocking to Social Networking sites because of almost hysterical following. Not only number of users, but average amount of time spent by each user on social networking sites has climbed substantially in the past one year.
This offers a unique opportunity to marketers for engaging their customers through Social media channels. Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media for building trust and brand loyalty. Research has shown strong evidence that Social Media Engagement correlates to Financial Performance (see report on world’s most valuable brands – Who’s most engaged?). According to this study “Engagement via social media IS important — and we CAN quantify it. There is statistically significant correlation between social media engagement and the two most meaningful financial performance metrics – revenue and profit”. This study further emphasizes quality of customer engagement through social media by concluding:
- It pays to engage meaningfully in social media. Emphasize quality, not just quantity.
- Engagement is more than just setting up a blog or Facebook profile and letting viewers post comments, it’s keeping your content fresh and replying to comments; it’s building your friends network and updating your profile status.
- Engagement can’t be skin-deep, nor is it a campaign that can be turned on and off. True engagement means full engagement in the channels where you choose to invest.
- To scale engagement, make social media part of everyone’s job. You must do something, else risk falling far behind other brands, not only in your industry, but across your customers’ general online experience.
This clearly illustrates importance of Social CRM – engaging customers via Social Media for building trust and loyalty towards the brand.
What do you think? What should marketers do to fully leverage vast reach of Social Media?