Consumers, Brands and Social Networks

If you are retailer and want to build your brand, social networks are where you need to be, says IDC in a new report.  According to it, Web 2.0 is creating opportunities for competitive advantage with the top 10 social networks having over 1.3 billion members.  Yes, there’s plenty of people who live on more than one network but that’s still a pretty big number.

IDC says, “Social networks, blogs, price comparison Web sites, and the likes can all be used by retailers of all kinds and sizes to attract and influence customers, to study demand patterns, to improve brand reputation, and, finally, to provide customer support.”  I’d certainly agreed with the latter – I think we’ve all heard the stories about certain companies responding to individuals who have tweeted about problems they’ve had with products.

It also notes that the social networks are a great source of information about customers and what they’re saying about products, whether it’s the retailer’s or a competitors.  For those of us in the space, this isn’t exactly news but for companies looking in and wanting to get value out of their investment, this is going to be important.

Obviously, it’s taking time but if the big consultancies are now able to produce reports with hard data regarding the benefits of social media, the money will start coming into the social / new media and out of traditional media.

The full report costs money but you can read the press release for free.