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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 21, 2009

Consumers expect brands to engage via new media

As part of the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, consumers' interactions with brands were explored and it was found that more people than last year believe companies, or brands, should not only have a new media presence, but should engage with consumers.

by Helen Leggatt

cone logo.gifCone's 2008 Business in Social Media survey found that 93% of online Americans thought a company should have a social media presence and 85% felt that not only should companies have that presence but they should use it to interact with consumers.

This year Cone's research found that even more consumers expect a brand's presence and engagement with 95% expecting brands to have a new media presence and 89% expecting engagement.

It would appear that, despite controversy surrounding the perceived "intrusion" of brands into online conversation, consumers aren't yet overwhelmed by brands sharing their new media spaces - in fact they expect it.

"There is still an opportunity for forward-thinking companies to establish a presence and earn a competitive advantage," said Mike Hollywood, Cone's director of new media. "Based on the growth of user interactions with companies, countless purchase decisions are being influenced by new media. It's imperative to get on board now that the train has left the station."

So, how does having a presence on new media affect the way consumers perceive a brand? According to Cone's study they:

- Feel a stronger connection (72%)
- Feel better served (68%)
- Have a more positive image (74%)
- Are more willing to engage (70%)
- Have an improved opinion when one of their friends interacts (64%)
- Choose to "follow"/"friend"/"fan" because it helps showcase their personality
online (52%)

Tags: brands, engagement, new media, social marketing

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