Social Media is a New Business Engine

Social media are no longer a want but a need for every business-minded person. People create online business networks, interacting with friends and loved ones, learning the latest news and discoveries with a simple click of the mouse. Today, there are around 4 billion or active social media users, and the number grows exponentially every second. Yes, social media is here to stay, and it is already a significant part of our lives and work. 

Social media takes over the title of the main channel of marketing and advertising, leaving traditional broadcast and print media to slowly fade into oblivion.

If you still think about how social media can help your business, let me walk you through a few points with some interesting facts and stats. 

Social Media and Brand Awareness

Facebook is the first most visited website, followed by YouTube, with a staggering 1.95 billion users. Facebook is also the most searched query on Google, followed again by the video-sharing platform YouTube. 

With more consumers spending more time on social media – businesses should follow the lead. Today, there are more than 60 million Facebook Business Pages reaching billions on the social media platform. 

Here are quick Facebook numbers:

Social Media and Brand Loyalty

In 2021 it becomes normal to obtain loyal fans through social media and not through the expensive billboards at Time Square. For example, 66% of users between the ages of 18 and 24 are more loyal to the brands they follow on social media than those they discovered offline. 49% of Facebook users confirm that they will support and promote (re-share) the brand pages they liked on the platform.

Social Media and Sales

Robust economies, like the United Kingdom (78%), South Korea (74%), Germany (74%), Sweden (70%), and the U.S. (69%), have the highest percentage of the population that purchasing items online.

Interestingly, the highest percentage of users — ages 18 to 34 years — has the most buying power, and they are the ones who base their choices on social media influence factors. According to a Nielsen study commissioned by Twitter, one in four new vehicle buyers in the United States used Twitter to help cement their decision and secure their purchase.

Quick numbers:

  • 39% of senior marketing specialists said they saw a medium return on investment (ROI) from organic social media posts.
  • 20% saying they received the highest ROI from this sort of marketing channel.
  • 36% said paid ads and promoted posts brought in medium ROI.
  • 17% said the social media ads provided high ROI.

It is impossible to deny the level of social media influence over our lives and businesses. As a giant network, it reaches to and connects everything – consumer choices, brand awareness or loyalty, sales, and the way we do business today. Trust our words – if you are not going to think about your social media strategy today – your business will be down tomorrow. 

New Logo, New Challenges, Right Direction?

New Year – New Look. Someone starts it with a new haircut, new job, or a new car. General Motors (GM) decided to start it with a new logo that supposedly reflects its newly found dedication to electric vehicles.

Branding Logo Windsor Ontario

The new logo features lower case GM letters in a sparkling fresh blue frame. And, of course, nothing says zero-emissions like a thin blue line under the letter m. It is not a joke. GM indeed thinks so:

The new GM logo features a colour gradient of vibrant blue tones evoking the clean skies of a zero-emissions future and the energy of the Ultium Platform [GM’s EV battery system]. The rounded edges and lower-case font create a more modern, inclusive feel. The underline of m connects to the previous GM logos visually representing the Ultium Platform. And within the negative space of the m is a nod to the shape of an electrical plug.

I take this change with a grain of salt, and here is why. The logo is crucial – it is a silent symbol of your brand that builds trust and recognition. The quality of your product and services is an extension of the company logo. Logo creation is a million-dollar industry and requires precision and thorough thinking.

Remember the Gap logo story in 2010? Months of design work, launch planning, marketing and millions of dollars lead nowhere but the public uproar and return to the roots. GM may have been heading to the same circle of hell.

However, GM says that changes display the evolution of its brand:

As GM transforms itself to deliver on a vision that creates a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

I am not so sure about it. An unfamiliar and unoriginal logo will hardly build an image for an old company in a new market.

When I saw the new logo for the first time, nothing in my head said “GM.” It could be anything, I thought. A Great Mountain travel agency? Ginger Mingles dating service or Green Mile correctional institution? Anything, but not GM.

The renewal is featuring a marketing call – EVerybody In, as well. And it is a stall on its own. It looks good and starring Malcolm Gladwell, pro surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, fitness instructor Cody Rigsby, and gamer Erin A. Simon as brand influencers. Good names, great people, but not EVerybody In, as promised.

Marketing Windsor Ontario

The campaign lacks diversity and feels like GM was sleeping 2020 over, woke up and made an awkward attempt to be “In.” 

Nevertheless, GM kept the old talking points about safety and price convenience, which look rather unfit with the unfamiliar new look. These two things were the parts of the GM 113 years history and its logo, not anymore.

Do not get me wrong – I support its appeal to a new customer cohort that holds non-conventional views. That is what Tesla did, for example. But was it the right way to achieve this goal? BMW keeps the coolest sweet 16 car status and advances its green vehicles without discarding a century-old history, brand recognition, and customer trust.

I believe GM’s vision of the future is noble. Its plan to invest more in electric and autonomous vehicles deserves respect. But nothing of it is reflected in the logo. Nothing says we are an old friend in a new shirt, and we are ready to rock. It more like: we have no idea what we are doing whatsoever. 

Black Friday and COVID-19

Canadian retailers are well aware that this will be the most digital holiday shopping season on record. Across Canada, over 70% of Canadian holiday shoppers say they are browsing online, not in-store.1 But as the second wave of the pandemic sweeps across Canada, many regions are potentially going back into lockdowns or implementing restrictions like reduced shopping mall capacity. This will have a big impact on how Black Friday and Cyber Monday week (BFCM) plays out across the country.

in-article COVID holiday trends.jpg

Source: Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, CA~n=600 online consumers 18+ per market who will shop for the holiday season. Oct 22-25Share

Businesses can’t take a cross-Canada, one-size-fits all approach. As BFCM inches closer, retailers must go a step further to address local realities — and be prepared to move to an online-only model on short notice. It also means that virtual gift offerings, like gift cards, will become even more essential.

Search trends point to online-only holiday shopping in highly-affected provinces

Earlier this fall, we saw in-store shopping behaviours on the rise, but recent search trends from Manitoba may hint at where things are headed. The province is currently experiencing some of the largest outbreaks in the country and unsurprisingly, people have shifted back to online shopping behaviours similar to early pandemic days.

In Manitoba, search interest for “gift cards” is up nearly 2X the national average, and search interest for “curbside pickup” are over 14X the national average. This is the same level of demand that Ontario witnessed during the first wave peak of the pandemic back in May.

We’re starting to see similar gift card trends play out in British Columbia and Eastern provinces. In Quebec for example, search interests for “carte cadeau” (gift cards) are over 1.5X higher than the national average. Search interest is also on the rise for contactless options, specifically in British Columbia where “curbside pickup” grew in the last two weeks.

in-article 66 percent.jpg

Source: Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, CA~n=600 online consumers 18+ per market who will shop for the holiday season. Oct 22-25Share

Search interest for “same day delivery” in Manitoba is also up over 3X the national average, indicating the growing need for speedy delivery options. As well, searches for “christmas wrapping paper” are 12X above the national average, indicating that gifts are being bought and delivered to home, wrapped and shipped.

In Ontario and British Columbia, we’re seeing search interest for “same day delivery” match early pandemic levels. And in Ontario, search interest for “online sales” are 5X higher versus last year, further stressing the importance of having an online presence.

Use regional search trends to adapt local strategies

To meet consumers where they are shopping, retailers must take a local and regional approach that considers rapidly-changing situations and local needs, from gifts to delivery services.

  • Check provincial search trends weekly for a real-time, province-by-province view. Are there services that could help meet demand? When checking search terms in Google Trends Canada, look at the “interest in subregion” section to see new bursts of search interest. Here’s a helpful tutorial on how to stay on top of search trends in a dynamic market.
  • Offer online gift cards to offset supply issues and delivery lags, and make sure they are front-and-centre on your website. Advertise them as you would a regular product, as 38% of Canadians plan to give more gift cards than in previous years.2 Potential store closures will continue to add friction to the consumer journey and people will want fast, easy alternatives.
  • Update online listings and e-commerce channels to reflect local realities. Canada-wide retailers should make sure local stores and Google My Business profiles have updated hours, contactless options like delivery and curbside pickup, and product availability listed clearly. Even local retailers should look at their web analytics to see where their online customers are coming from, and anticipate the products they’re looking for. E-commerce is expected to double this holiday season, and will be the new reality beyond the holiday season. Keeping e-commerce channels updated now will set up retailers for long-term success.

This will be the most digital Black Friday, Cyber Monday on record. By using regional search trends, retailers can stay on top of local realities, understand consumer preference, and adapt their marketing strategies quickly to better serve their customers across Canada.