Producers and consumers coexist and depend on each other to survive. In the business world, a producer is an entity that can generate a product, while a consumer is any entity that utilizes that product. However, while consumer audiences remain the same and producers of similar products are many, several practices exist between the demand and supply settings. Marketing is one of those practices exerted by producers to convince consumers to buy their products. Until a decade ago, companies concentrated on promoting their products solely through traditional media — newspapers, TV, radio and promotional flyers. Yet, the modern age saw the invasion of social media as a reliable tool to bridge the gap between producers and consumers.
Social media’s influence
Social media distinguishes itself from traditional media with its two-way communication, as inputs from consumers form the public reputation of producers.
In an interview published by the Harvard Business Review, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent declared, “Five years ago social media was 3% of Coca-Cola’s total media spend. Today it’s more than 30% and growing fast”.
To come to grips with the situation, producers around the globe found the need to recruit brand managers, public relations practitioners and social media managers.
The need for a good social media strategy
Producers are always on their toes to mold their image on social networks regarding visibility and influence. For this to happen, producers are pressured to create a workable and reliable social media strategy before participating in a social media campaign. Once a carefully considered strategy is in play, customer loyalty and engagement rewards are potentially significant.
As a rule, a brand’s reputation on social media relies on the wish and will of consumers. It is consumers that decide on how to construe a brand. Therefore, producers have the primary responsibility to communicate efficiently and commendably on online social platforms. Besides, since social media endorses the electronic word of mouth (eWOW) communication style among consumers, it has become easy to spread any positive or negative testimonial made by prospective, current or previous consumers about a producer to a crowd of people and establishments through the internet.
The modern age
The days of calling on a hotline, and complaining to a producer about a deficiency in its product, is disappearing fast. In this modern age, where every consumer is busy in their way, no one has the time to spend an hour over a phone call where the producer keeps passing your call to the concerned person or department to solve a problem. Today, consumers want to be heard by producers and be responded to effectively in the least amount of time.
Consumers require producers to be socially receptive, whereas manipulative promotions of products appear archaic and unfashionable. No other comic book character has a more ideal summation of the situation of producers on social media platforms than Spider-Man’s celebrated, “With great power, comes great responsibility. This is my gift, my curse”. While companies can have a good hold of their various audiences on social media and create an optimistic rapport with consumers, social media can also be an absolute nightmare for companies if things go wrong online. Social media has the power of spreading the news to a large audience — unlike the traditional print and broadcast medium — in a short time.
The real challenge in bridging the gap between producers and consumers is not content creation, but rather finding content that works. The sooner a producer engages in conversation with its audiences on social media, the better off it is. Producers have the responsibility to be abreast of the ever-changing trends in society and invest actively in PR, marketing and brand managers. The consumer is the king — not the producer.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing