Recent comScore data points out that social media are having an increasing influence on shopping and consumer purchase behavior:
Social media (a descriptive yet still ambiguous term) is often treated like it’s a mysterious thing. It’s not. You have several major distribution points online where people are interacting — among them Facebook and Twitter. Reviews and recommendations (word of mouth) are being disseminated in many cases through these distribution points. People are getting the information and taking action accordingly. Twitter for example has become an important distribution point for deals and coupons.
People fundamentally want credible information about products (and services) — rather than ads and claims — and they want to save money. Consumers are finding this information on social media sites, among other places online. Makes sense.
Companies lag in figuring out how to utilize these tools and platforms effectively and w/o the BS/PR spin they’re used to conveying in the world. That’s the major “cultural” obstacle for them. They mostly don’t know how to operate in the world with authentic, direct communication, which is what the Internet now demands for success in social media.
But if you’re a company that just can’t overcome the caution inherent in most corporate cultures, and you don’t want to be “authentic,” you can always offer deals and discounts on Twitter as an alternative.