A recent CRM Study (2011) by IBM Institute for Business Value reveals significant gaps between what brands prioritize in their social media communications and what consumers expect when communicating with companies through social media. Guess what? Consumers are not so focused on activities that are deeply engaging and entertaining. (They probably prefer Hollywood for that.) They are looking for discounts. They want to make purchases or they are looking for reviews that will help them solidify their buying decisions. Meanwhile, companies are spending dollars on providing general information and product updates. A significant percentage of companies believe consumers follow them to feel part of a community (64 percent) or to access customer service (63 percent). As the image below shows, these items are not as high on consumers’ list.
So, have we been wrong about polls and quizzes and 2 minute videos that bring color and interaction to Facebook fan pages? Not necessarily. However, we are missing an opportunity to close a sale if we do not bring product to these activities and give consumers the chance to try products, read reviews and purchase in one click. Consumers have their friends and other personal connections on social networks giving them a sense of community. When it comes to b-to-c relations in social media, commerce should be at the center of branded activities.