Some interesting statistics were recently released that show just how critical it is for companies to have a strategy in place to interact with existing — and potential — customers online. What may have seemed like an added convenience in the past may be becoming a downright necessity for businesses hoping to develop a sound reputation. MediaPost writes:
A just-released study from Cone Inc. reports that among new-media users, a staggering 78% of them interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools — up from 59% the year before. And these users are conversing with brands more often: Some 37% say they do so at least once a week — up from one in four when Cone did the study last year.
It’s not enough to simply have new media presences (although 95% of users expect it.) Increasingly, they are looking for companies and brands not just with Web sites (58%) and email (45%), but with involvement in social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace (30%) and online games (24%).
Surprisingly, given their loathing of pop-ups and other intrusive ad methods, 43% say they want to see companies advertise online, up from 25% last year. And women are especially enthusiastic about offers that include freebies, coupons or discounts (58%).
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Cone’s data, however, is that consumers strongly believe that new media is a two-way street, with 62% saying they can influence business decisions by voicing their opinions through new media.