Wednesday, December 12, 2012
After attending LeWeb 2012 in Paris, there’s no doubt that we are embarking on a new era of the hyper-connected consumer. Consumers once viewed the internet on their desktops, which has quickly evolved to a laptop, and then the mobile device, and then finally – the web protrudes into our daily lives via connected objects and the “Internet of Things.” With products evolving into brand objects such as the Evian Smart Drop, which allows consumers to simplify their lives by placing product orders without using a computer or a phone, or tshirtOS, a programmable t-shirt allowing consumers to express themselves in new ways, marketers can offer end consumers better ways to interact with products and serve them in new ways.
As a brand marketer, you may be asking yourself “How do I truly engage with my end consumer?” or “How do I create brand affinity and a loyal customer base?” When it comes to social media, both content and engagement are key elements of a brand’s strategy. Social media has also changed the frequency in communication between brands and their end consumers. No longer are brand marketers launching campaigns once a quarter, but instead perhaps daily to keep up with active audiences and stay top of mind.
We heard at LeWeb and learned in our recent SUBSCRIBERS, FANS & FOLLOWERS report, Le Digital Café, that many French brands have not yet engaged with social media platforms in the same way that US organizations have. In fact, our recent report showed that only 4% of French online consumers describe themselves as a “follower” who actively follows one company or brand on Twitter. Don’t let that statistic deter you, though; that 4% is a strong audience of more influential consumers. These influencers are the ones who are more likely to sway others’ behaviors or opinions, and could potentially impact the way others see your brand.
Now what about the remainder of French consumers, those who aren’t active on social media? As a marketer, how should you reach them? As consumers interact across different channels, it’s crucial to take a balanced approached and keep in mind which channels are the most effective and when. It’s often times forgotten that email is a secret weapon of social media. One example of email’s effectiveness is that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter keep coming back to the email channel to spark re-engagement amongst consumers. There’s no doubt that email is still a living, thriving channel. Particularly in France, email remains a popular communication method, as 90% of respondents were identified as subscribers.
With all these new methods of connecting with end consumers, it remains important to keep consumer channel preferences in mind in order to reach your end consumer in the most effective channel. Do you understand the motivations of your target audience? Or how these motivations vary across email, Facebook, and Twitter? Are you engaging with consumers at the right time? How does your brand stand out in the crowd? These are all valid questions, and important ones to address as part of a greater communication strategy.
To learn more about how French consumers are interacting across different channels, download Le Digital Café in English or French today. Or catch ExactTarget's panel discussion on social media management via the LeWeb YouTube channel.