It may come as a surprise just how much discussion of a commercial nature takes place on Facebook and Twitter. Many of the big consumer companies have been pursuing brand marketing through the social media channels for some time.
Rather than simply purchase advertising at web properties like Twitter (Twitter is only just now introducing an advertising model for the first time) and Facebook, consumer companies actually setup residence on both Twitter and Facebook with Twitter accounts and Facebook pages to market their brands and engage with consumers.
What may have started out as marketing experiments a few years ago have emerged as fully funded mainstream marketing activities at these businesses. Companies like Coca-Cola have hundreds of employees in their marketing departments dedicated full time to just social media marketing.
If you go to Coca-Cola’s web page, one of the first things you’ll see is a big splash banner inviting you to join the Coca-Cola Facebook page. It must be working. As of this writing, Coca-Cola is up to 5,754,181 fans on their Facebook page.
And on Twitter, Coca-Cola is showing 31,496 followers at the official Coca-Cola page on Twitter.
You can find Apple on Twitter as well. About a year ago, Apple kicked up their own Twitter account to cover iTunes trailers. Apple displays an impressive 1,476.945 followers on Twitter, not bad for one year. Actually, in just the time it took me to finish this post, that number increased to 1,476,963.
So does it pay off for these big companies to engage with consumers through social media marketing? Some will say the jury is out, however, you don’t really see big consumer business backing off.
A recent survey commissioned by Performics for eMarketer indicates that one third of Twitter users talk brands. The research found that at least once a week, 33% of Twitter users share opinions about companies and products, while 32% make recommendations, and 30% ask for them.
And the same healthy percentages seem to exist on Facebook as well with 29% of the respondents indicated they enjoy interacting with companies about their products.
Admittedly, at least for now, more consumers are content staying on the sidelines using social networking sites primarily to connect with their friends and family. But there is definitely a groundswell of activity through social media channels with companies making the two-way connection with the consumer.
For small and local business, don’t overlook the growing opportunity to leverage social media and make the connection with your prospects and customers. It’s the social nature marketing on the Internet today.
People don’t only want to connect with big companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds. They like feeling connected to the local Pizza Parlor down the street too!