Content is what we string together to tell stories, share thoughts and ideas. Coming in different flavors (text, video, photo, music, spoken word, etc.), content is king, and in the digital age it’s good to be the mayor, let alone the king. Now the news: 61 percent of us are willing to generate content for companies, “regardless of the product, service, or brand involved.”
The quote comes from a recent Forrester Research report quoted in ReadWriteWeb. Called “US Consumers Are Willing Co-Creators,” don’t think of it as amateur hour on corporate sites. Rather, look at is as people – company fans – creating content to help each other and help make a better product. It is just that most companies don’t know it yet or choose to ignore the early adopters in their ranks.
The Mike Melanson article points to the reports finding that “nearly half of all companies are not using social media to interact directly with their customers in order to influence product creation, design or strategy.” In other words, they are ignoring their customers.
These companies probably don’t know that most Americans access a social site at least once a month, two-thirds of us are a “fan” of a company and more than half of us sleep with our cell phones in arm’s reach. Why? Content and connection. How do I know this? I’ve been reading too many studies, but that’s not the point.
As a marketer, you have people willing to say “I love your stuff and I can help make it better.” Why would you NOT want these people to help? Hire an editor. You’re one great idea away from paying for that person three times over. These customers are willing to identify themselves to the company where they can be listened to and/or rewarded – or dismissed like an unloved big-eyed puppy dog sent off to a competitor.
It’s not just Forrester with these findings. “Twitter users are the most influential online consumers,” according to an ExactTarget study released this month. “72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly, 70 percent comment on blogs, 61 percent write at least one product review monthly.”
A telling number: “Nine out of the 10 most common motivations for consumers to follow a brand on Twitter involve consumers seeking information from a company.” It could be support information or new product information, but it is because of a genuine interest.
According to an excerpt from a Forrester poll of consumer product strategy (CPS) professionals, “61 percent of all US online adults are willing co-creators, and they are open to co-creating across a large range of industries.” It goes on to recommend that “CPS professionals should begin by targeting consumers with whom they are already engaging on their own sites or through social media. Recognize that participation will be stronger — and the results more thorough and useful — if the interaction is appealing from the consumer’s point of view, in terms of the topic, incentive, and time commitment.”
It’s not too hard to set up a blog in your web domain. It’s not too hard to set a simple approval flow. It’s not too hard to show your customers the love they want. If you don’t show it, they will find it somewhere else.