Did you know that socially engaged consumers spend more on brands than those people who don’t interact? That’s according to a new Bain & Company report, which studied social media and its role in marketing.

Apparently, the study found that people who talk to brands on networks like Twitter and Facebook spend 20 to 40 percent more money on their products and services compared to those who don’t. They also show a ‘deeper emotional commitment’ to companies who use social media – 33 per cent higher than the common measure for customer loyalty.

Looking at these fascinating facts and figures, it’s clear. Engagement adds real value these days, a crucial aspect of movement marketing. But how does engagement lead to more sales? It’s simply a matter of trust.

How we gain that trust is via direct interaction. People want to know the real people behind the logo. They want to speak to humans. They want to build actual relationships and feel an emotional connection to brands. If all of these needs are satisfied, they’re more likely to part with their hard-earned cash.

This is where social media becomes so invaluable. Thanks to the Internet, the communication channels between brands and consumers have opened up like never before. Today, brands can put some personality behind their names at the click of a button, leading to stronger relationships with their customers and ultimately boosting sales.

Of course, it’s not simply a case of setting up a Twitter account or starting a blog. Engagement takes a lot of hard work and has to be approached with caution. That’s because social media has meant consumers have become empowered and therefore more demanding.

Due to the speed and access of information at their fingertips, they expect the same quick response if they talk to brands online. For example, if someone ‘tweets’ a brand, they expect an instant reply. If they don’t get this ‘real-time customer service’, they’ll feel ignored and your reputation could be at stake.

So which brands have cracked social media? Who has got it right? Threadless is probably one of the best examples. An ongoing t-shirt design contest, it encourages its community to not only design t-shirts but also help vote on which ones should get printed and sold. It has a hugely active forum on its own website, a popular blog with lots of juicy content and they’ve even got over 1.6 million followers on Twitter. Threadless is a simple idea that grew from social media itself. It cleverly interacts with its customers and has seen profits skyrocket over the past 10 years.

Then what about Whole Foods Market? A huge success story on Twitter, it gained over a million followers within its first year of tweeting. What was the leading natural and organic food stores winning formula? It connected with its customers through 140 character tweets while providing instant customer service. It also engaged through its own website and blog, adding personality behind its brand.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a mass brand with stores across the country and a motto that claims America Runs on Dunkin’. The Dunkin community reflects their movement in the market and they’ve delivered on Facebook with surprising content like the Sims Social Game and Fan of the Week, which help drive engagement and a mass following of just under five million.

StrawberryFrog, my own agency, is working in close collaboration with its clients at Jim Beam to grow the ‘Bold Choice’ community on Facebook, which now has 971,734 members, generated with clever content like the Kid Rock Twitter Intercept. Will you be the 1 millionth member?

So the message is clear. Engagement via social media is the magic ingredient to successful movement marketing. And with over 60 percent of Internet users in the US now engaging on social media platforms every single day, brands cannot ignore the movement any longer. Because if you’re not talking to customers online, you might as well not exist.

Image by: neatlysliced

Original Post: http://scottgoodson.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/11/a-key-ingredient-to-successful-movement-marketing.html