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Can Companies Keep Up With Social Media?

Gone are the days of traditional emails. Well, maybe not completely, but you would be hard pressed to log on to any news or industry website and not find an article regarding how social media is going to rule the world.  We hear it every day– Facebook now gets more daily hits than the Internet portal giant, Google, and this social media “fad” is here to stay. With newer sites such as Foursquare that offer location-based services, instant communication is taken to a whole new level.

Companies and organizations have been continuously encouraged to jump on the social media bandwagon. Whether they like it our not, their customers will be there, conversing about their brand, product, or whatever it may be, with or without them. Why not join them? Jack Neff of Advertising Age wrote an article released today, regarding consumers’ voices on social media sites. From the chart above (from DBM/Scan), traffic to companies’ social media sites have in some instances, greatly outpaced visits to traditional company websites. Take for example Coca-Cola. With 10.7 million Facebook fans (and growing by 96,000 each day), Coke’s social media presence has rapidly taken off. However, visits to its homepage dropped 40 percent over the last year. A similar story is seen with Oreo, where Nabisco lovers have migrated from its homepage to its Facebook page.

While it may seem as though companies like Starbucks and Coca-Cola have struck gold in regards to their social media implementation, high traffic to sites like Facebook and Twitter equates to a vital need for CRM tools. Unlike visits to a company homepage where content is controlled and carefully planned, social media sites are conversational in nature and allow two-way communication.  Transparency is a double-sided sword. Social media sites allow companies to gain insightful information about their consumers (for free), but they also must be ready to listen and respond to whatever their consumers are voicing even when they aren’t singing praises.

It is important to note that not every company that has seen success on Facebook or other similar sites has necessarily seen a decline in the number of visits to its company homepage. Walgreens, for example, has experienced growth in both mediums. It is also interesting to note that when looking at the chart above, all but a few brands belong to the CPG industry. Are some types of companies better-fitted for the social media world? Perhaps. Regardless of the industry, AdAge’s article reiterates the importance of a well strategized and seamlessly integrated plan for social media. When companies have more visits to its Facebook page than its own, social media isn’t going anywhere soon.

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