The respondents who answered the survey rated two activities as those in which they use social media in marketing extensively (on a scale of 1-5):
- Increasing the number of consumers who view the company’s marketing messages (or ‘media reach’)
- Getting consumers to discuss their positive experiences with the firm’s products or services publicly
Ford Motor Company’s social media efforts are a case in point; its social media website, FordSocial, features stories and videos from satisfied consumers who have purchased Ford vehicles. Such testimonials can be persuasive. For example, one Ford owner on the Ford website said: “We purchased our Ford Explorer in 1992 (shows over 300,000 miles, it’s probably more than that now). For over 20 years, this truck has gotten us where we’ve needed to go and with only normal maintenance.”
Marketing professionals are less likely to use social media to improve pricing, test marketing messages before they launch a campaign, or answer competitors’ marketing messages more precisely. (See Exhibit IV-1)
Exhibit IV-1: How Marketing Uses and Benefits from Social Media
So how successful are marketers at using social media to accomplish those goals? On our scale of 1-5, the size of benefits follows a similar pattern to usage.
We gave the same question to product managers. They said they most used social media to increase media reach and to improve current offerings. They used it least (although still moderately) to improve pricing and collect competitive information.
As a tool for generating benefits, product managers scored social media highest on increasing media reach and identifying potential new markets for the firms’ products/ services. (See Exhibit IV-2) On our scale of 1-5, they said it generated more than moderate benefits (3.42) as a market research tool for getting feedback on new and existing offerings.
Exhibit IV-2: How Product Management Uses and Benefits from Social Media