Americans Expect Companies to Have Social-Media Presence

Americans Expect Companies to Have Social-Media Presence

Approximately 60% of Americans use social media, and an overwhelming majority of these (93%) say companies should have a social media presence, while 85% of social media users believe these companies should not only be present but should interact with consumers through social media, according to research from Cone.

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Among social media users, 59%  interact with companies on social media websites and one in four interacts more than once per week. Some 56% of social-media users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.

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When social media users were asked about specific types of interactions, they said:

  • Companies should use social networks to solve their problems (43% of social media users).
  • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%) via social media.
  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%) through social media.
  • Companies should market to consumers (25%) using social media.

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

Other findings:

  • Men are twice as likely than women interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% vs. 17%).
  • One-third of younger, hard-to-reach consumers (age 18-34) believe  that companies should actively market to them via social networks.
  • The wealthiest households (household income of $75K+) also believe that companies should seek to reach them via social media.
  • Two-thirds of the wealthiest households and the largest households ( those with three or more members) feel stronger connections to brands they interact with online.

“All of this is great news for marketers,” Hollywood said. “Men and younger consumers are traditionally the most challenging to reach, while the highest-income households are typically very desirable; here they are saying ‘come market to us and interact with us online.’ This is really a license to put more energy and resources into this medium and do it effectively.”

About the study: The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study was conducted online, September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation. It surveyed 1,092 adults comprising 525 men and 567 women 18 and older.

**Note: This article has been changed from the original version to reflect reader feedback and a clarification issued by Cone.