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Is social media the future for branding?

03/09/2013

Marketers need to be using social media channels effectively in order to gain traction.

Social media has changed the way businesses interact with their customers.

Channels such as Facebook and Twitter offer companies the chance to speak to people in a way that was not previously popular, as the real-time element means individuals are not forced to wait a couple of days for a response to what is typically a simple query.

A study by eDigitalResearch found around four-fifths of consumers who get in touch with brands through social media hear back within 12 hours - only 37 per cent of those who emailed received a response in the same time frame.

Writing in Marketing Week, Mindi Chahal said this demonstrates how social media is the only customer contact channel that "guarantees a response from a brand".

She added brands have an opportunity to get access to priceless market research if they keep up their response rates, as they can look at "who contacts you and the nature of their enquiry".

However, there is another side to this coin. Social media is becoming increasingly important when it comes to branding and the benefits of this medium are there for all to see. Research by Livefyre discovered 82 per cent of businesses have increased user engagement thanks to their efforts.

Twitter (93 per cent) was the most popular platform, followed by Facebook (89 per cent), YouTube (50 per cent) and Instagram (41 per cent). Real-time applications - such as comments, live blogs or live chat applications - are being used by 73 per cent of brands.

This is likely to be a sign of things to come, as marketers embrace the opportunities offered by social media. Whether it is releasing new information, implementing real-time plans or keeping consumers hooked, the medium is much more than the new kid on the block when it comes to marketing.

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