According to a new survey by Forrester, customers would rather perform regular visits to their favorite brand sites than to social media channels to stay informed and connected with brand news. Participants were asked to pick their preferred method of staying in touch with companies, and social media didn’t even show up until the fifth ranking. In fact, most fans (45 percent) said they regularly keep in touch with brands they like by visiting their website.
The study also reveals that shoppers are nearly twice as likely to subscribe to a brand’s email list than to visit them on Facebook, with only 16 percent choosing the social media giant as their top engagement tool. Twitter garnered 6 percent of respondents’ attention, with all other social platforms getting just 8 percent.
Social networking as a means for building customer relations is certainly not dead. A decent number of respondents cited a brand’s own online community as their go-to for news. A prime example is Sony Playstation, which is thriving with a new niche social network , GreatnessAwaits.com. The gamer-centric site has received more than 4.5 million page views since its launch and keeps visitors exploring for an average of 4 minutes per visit. Engagement has been high, with more than 3.3 million pieces of social content already uploaded to the platform. Fostering a place for customers to interact and build relationships with each other over Playstation products has paid off, pushing the console’s sales significantly above its competitor, Xbox.
If creating an entirely new social network isn’t in the cards for your business right now, that’s completely fine. You can optimize your site to give customers who are looking to stay in touch the best experience possible. Design your site to highlight the latest inventory and make accessing brand updates simple and fun (and don’t forget to make it mobile-friendly). Blogs are also a great way to keep shoppers in the know about your brand’s personality through curated content and original posts. Plus, a simple editorial outlet like this is full of SEO opportunities, from internal linking to keyword use.
Building social relationships takes time and social sites like Facebook and Twitter can offer great initial boosts. Ultimately, it appears that your most loyal customers want to immediately see or experience your brand’s latest news, instead of getting a 140-character snippet and photo about it.