More and more businesses these days are catching on to the fact that social media is kind of a big deal. Customers expect to be able to connect with brands they care about, and those who do this well can enjoy the benefits of what social media can do. But there are some industries that seem to take advantage of social media better than others. For some, social media is just a natural outgrowth of an already established marketing strategy; for others, they’ve done an exceptional job harnessing the power of social media. Whatever the reason, these industries are finding that social media is an incredibly beneficial tool.
Even if you’re at home by yourself, watching TV is a social experience when paired with services like Facebook and especially Twitter. When major awards shows pop up, or wildly popular episodes like Jersey Shore and The Bachelor come on, you can expect a flurry of Tweets to ensue. Studios have caught on, and are often in charge of promoting hashtags like #jerseyshore that help keep the conversation together. For Jersey Shore’s fifth season premiere, the show had more than 700,000 mentions overall, with half a million mentions during the show. But the Oscars spanked Jersey Shore with 3.8 million comments, and the Grammys blew everyone out of the water with 13 million social media mentions. Users love to discuss fashion, endearing moments, and surprising awards, all while watching TV with a “second screen” to connect with other fans. It’s clear that TV watching has taken on a whole new meaning, and the entertainment industry is reaping the rewards.
Well, duh. Its no secret that marketers are flocking to social media in order to connect businesses with new customers and maintain existing customer relationships. In 2010, 85% of marketing departments surveyed indicated that using social media generated exposure for their business, and 48% indicated that by using social media marketing, they were able to reduce their overall marketing expenses. It’s clear they are seeing results and plan to build on this in the future: 81% of marketers have plans to increase their social media presence in the future.
Daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social thrive on sharing through social media. But traditional retailers and outlets are getting in the game as well. Customers can share their feedback with huge stores like Target and smaller, even local companies, too. According to CBS News, 45% of retailers are active on social media. Often, brands are able to get feedback and nip customer complaints in the bud, leading to increased consumer loyalty and positive word of mouth.
It’s hard to think of a single company that has benefited more from social media than Apple. Users openly share their love for products on social media, and bloggers especially contribute to the fervor that surrounds every new announcement. On the flip side, consumers continue to purchase Apple products, especially the iPhone, so that they can keep up with their ever-growing social media addictions. Of course, Apple is only the most obvious company among many who are greatly benefiting from the blogosphere and social media interaction with their products.
It’s hard to call education an “industry,” but at the same time, you just can’t deny the power of social media in educational settings. With social media, students often become more engaged in learning, excited about taking on new assignments, and replace online procrastination with social media for learning. Teachers, administrators, and other learning professionals have enjoyed the value of social media as well, collaborating and sharing information online in a way that they never could before.
Uh, what? You read that right; old media is increasingly flocking to (and thriving on) social media. Foreign correspondents who used to read local papers and visit the foreign press club are now hitting Twitter for the latest leads. But social media is good for journalists in more than just news gathering: newspapers, TV stations, and other news outlets are enjoying increased interaction with readers and viewers, a practice that now goes way beyond letters to the editor and has expanded into real time Twitter conversations and Facebook comments.
Social media sites are practically playgrounds for recruiters. Job seekers are increasingly turning to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get hooked up with jobs, and recruiters are following suit. These websites are great for highlighting new positions, locating candidates, and perhaps most interesting of all, screening candidates based on their social activities. According to a study from Reppler, 90% of recruiters and hiring managers will visit a candidate’s profile on a social network in order to screen the candidate, and often (69%), recruiters will reject candidates based on what they’ve found, making social media an incredibly valuable tool for the recruiting industry.
Small businesses thrive on personal attention and connection, and these days, the most common way to do that is to hit social media. That’s why small businesses are finding great benefit in using social media sites. A recent survey indicated that 66% of small businesses surveyed strongly agreed that social media is important to their business. By using social media sites, small business owners can stand out in a noisy marketplace, find increased exposure for free, and discover new business partnerships.
Old media is simply too slow for the fashion industry, which has found new life on social media. Gone are the days of one-way communication and slow feedback. Finally, the industry has found communication that moves as quickly as fashion does. Fans and tastemakers can follow along as styles constantly evolve and change and creative directors come and go. Brands are able to personally connect with their target markets, and learn about reactions in real time. Moving to social media has allowed fashion to enjoy genuine interaction and an increased sense of customer loyalty.
Travel and Hospitality
The highly competitive travel industry has taken to social media, and many heavy hitters are reaping the benefits. Travel agencies, websites, and tourism boards have hosted travel competitions, winning Facebook Likes and Twitter mentions that help propel them to the forefront of customers’ social media spheres. Last-minute travel deals are shared with renewed fervor, and travelers can share immediate feedback, helping to attract new customers. Further, travel companies are able to act quickly on customer complaints, offering a new level of customer service that can help build and maintain a good reputation for the company.
Restaurants, and the food and beverage industry overall, have found great value in social media. So many small restaurants struggle to maintain a functional website, but many have adopted social media channels to share, promote, and get feedback on their restaurants. Large chains run nationwide contests and even go viral with new offerings like the KFC Double Down, mom-and-pop joints promote their homemade specials, and perhaps most important of all: customers spread the word. As customers check in, post photos, and share reviews, they’re bringing attention to the latest and greatest eats in their local area. Restaurants can build a positive (or negative) reputation in lightning speed, where new restaurants used to have to wait several months to build a presence. Restaurant owners are certainly taking notice: a recent Restaurant.org survey indicated that more than eight out of 10 restaurant operators already do, or plan to, use social media as a “key tool” in marketing, most within the next two years.