Facebook and Consumer Learning Process
A great deal of successful marketing today depends on closely understanding consumer behavior. As a marketer, you may always be curious to understand what excites or motivates your customers into buying either your products or those of your competitor. Depending on the buying and consumption cycle of your product, there can be several factors that will determine the sales conversion ratio for your product.
Toward Right Learning
A successful sale happens when your customer understands his need and is convinced that your product can satisfy that need in a reliable way. Both these steps happen through a process, which is known as learning. Hence as a marketer, your job begins by ensuring that the customer perceives his need and, more importantly, finds the solution in your product
Right Learning and Right Conversations
At this very moment, you may be reading this article on your laptop or desktop. Remember the day when you had decided to buy your first computer. You must have considered many factors before finalizing which computer to purchase. One of the important decision points for a buyer is his circle of reference. It is natural for you, as a buyer, to discuss with your informed friends about the best brand. Positive references from friends and acquaintances help one make a decision.
How has Facebook changed all of this?
Research has shown that buyers do a great deal of product research on the Internet and most of the time choose to purchase the product either online or offline. The power of the Internet as a research and information resource has been realized to a great extent by customers worldwide.
The basics of consumer behavior, learning, reference groups, and buying decisions have remained exactly the same. But what has changed significantly is the speed with which everything happens. Technology has brought down the barriers in global communication. Social networking sites, and more importantly the rising popularity of Facebook, bears a strong testimony to the growing power of the Internet as a mode of communication and a source of information.
Before and After Facebook
Like we discussed, most of the learning before the proliferation of Facebook and social media happened through advertisements on television. During the days of conventional media dominance, marketing was driven by the power to broadcast. Marketing communication was primarily unidirectional through blaring advertisements and press releases.
Word of mouth happened on a one-on-one basis, where the conversation would begin and end around a small group of people.
Today, a search on your favorite brand on Facebook may reveal many conversations about the brand, which may depict user’s positive or negative experiences with the brand. Unlike the clandestine brand gossip of earlier days, the Facebook era ensures that conversations are documented and made easily available through social networking sites.
Brands trying to ignore this new medium find themselves in a state similar to an ostrich, with its head buried in sand, thinking the world cannot see it. The real image of the brand in people’s minds shows up aloud these days through conversations on Facebook.
Facebook and Online Reputation
The power of Facebook, as discussed, has extended the scope of Word of Mouth beyond the good old conversation between friends. Today, each and every Facebook user is free to publish his views on your brand. The true effect of this happens whenever these conversations appear in searches and influence people’s opinion about the brand image.
This is where online reputation, primarily on a widely accepted medium like Facebook, matters.
In a nutshell..
Managing a positive image of your brand requires you to expand your reach, more than what you would do in case of conventional media. The conversational nature of social networking sites, such as Facebook, demands a different approach. Unlike one-time broadcast by the conventional medium, Facebook stores each and every conversation and makes it available through the search option for anyone who is curious to know more about your brand.
That is the reason why it is a critical part of any brand plan to feature positively on social networking sites, such as Facebook. Engaging consultants who have experience in managing brands through the new era of social networks is a growing practice that can help brands manage the new wave.