In an era when media is largely created and broadcast by the few to the many, social media emerged to facilitate the co-creation of media. While difficult to trace its origins, the philosophy of social media dates back to the mid-1990s. It wasn’t until the mid 2000s however, that businesses would encounter the idea of a new social medium where brand democracy prevailed over brand dictatorship.
Suddenly the voice of the customer took on an entirely new meaning and the promise of customer-centricity and engagement was thrust into the spotlight. But after all these years, businesses remain confounded.
Even though most companies are experimenting with social media, how it improves customer relationships while impacting essential business metrics is persistently elusive.
The Evolving Social Landscape
Here we are in 2013, firmly planted in the notion that social media is critical to business and customer relationships. Yet, experts to this day wrestle with the ability to tether intuition with data and creativity with business acumen.
In a connected economy where information becomes a powerful currency, social data will only help you benchmark where you are to help visualize where you could be. The relationship between aspiration and reality now become a more informed set of goals and objectives driven by benchmarking against the industry and more importantly, benchmarking against possibilities.
Each year, the Pivot team studies the evolving social landscape. For our 2012 -2013, “State of Social Marketing” report, we surveyed 181 social marketers and digital strategists who represent agencies and brands. What we learned is that the fundamental drivers for social media have radically transformed.
What’s clear however is that social media and the allure of conversations matter. At the top of the list, brands and marketers agree that conversations lift both brand and relevance. It’s the new stimulus and relevance is appropriate to the matter at hand.
When asked of the benefits for social media, 2013 goals largely matched 2011 expectations with the exception of sales and lead generation.
As you can see, primary goals fluctuated over the years, shifting toward a more customer-centric approach. Customer engagement, awareness, influence, satisfaction, and service top 2013 social goals whereas sales was off the charts in 2011.
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