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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 31.07.2014, 16:30

What do the social media users expect from companies

Olga Kazaka, partner at A.W.Olsen & Partners/Scholz & Friends Riga partner (www.olsen.lv), PhD candidate at University of Latvia, 29.11.2011.Print version
As communication specialists we are used to constantly ask ourselves of what does the audience expect from us, what message would address them, what action would they enjoy, what images would attract their attention… Perhaps, this research could help us a little bit in the process. In the research, 624 Latvian social media users have expressed their opinion about their expectations from companies, organizations or brands in social media environment.

The survey showed that social media users were overall satisfied with the business practice to communicate in social media. In addition, the companies should not be afraid to communicate here about their product or service: the information about the products or services is evaluated positively more frequent, than any offers in discounts or other bonuses to the followers. It means that in order to attract one’s attention, different offers with presents and discounts are useful, but to maintain the communication and relationship, it is necessary to provide with valuable information, to answer the users‘ questions, to show the area expert‘s competence.

 

The social media look attractive also as an internal communication channel – two thirds of the respondents positively evaluated the situation, when the company communicates with its employees in social media.

 

An unexpected outcome of the survey is related to the fact that users are more positive about informing of the company’s product or service, as well as advertising it at the social media, than encouraging the discussions or taking part in other users‘ discussions.

 



The allegation, which is commonly heard - that it is essential for users to communicate with rank and file employees, was not supported by the survey. The users feel either indifferent, or they would rather choose the company’s experts. Only every tenth respondent is willing to see rank and file employees behind the corporate profiles.

 

The survey also reveals that the users do not appreciate, when the company enters their ‚territory‘: less than a half of the respondents prefer, when the company asks questions and encourages the discussions, as well as engages in other people’s discussions. By contrast, a significantly negative attitude from users‘ side is seen in the situation, when the company is following their profiles. This suggests that the companies should organize the communication in a way that users would have a motivation to follow them, not attracting their attention by intrusively offering company’s friendship.

           

Meanwhile, naming the aspects that motivate them to follow the corporative profiles, the users demonstrate the need for value-added communication: an opportunity to receive a valuable, quick and useful information takes precedence over gifts and bonuses. Much less users are motivated by friends‘ interests or authority, or a desire to influence the processes in the company. This suggests that companies should focus  on determining the target audience‘s needs and interests, in order to offer them individually customized and value-bearing content.






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