Who needs social media? Answer: Who doesnt?

In a global market that has no boundaries, and where consumers could be anyone from Texas to Timbuktoo, you need to shout your product, again, and some more again.

It applies even to the big boys too. Suppose Coke stops its marketing campaign for a week. Do you think its sales would not dip? Suppose again Coke doubles its p.r. for the same period. Would its sales not rise?

Now, how do you make your product or service reach your customers from Timbuktoo to Texas? No one is asking this question today anymore. It shows how relevant, critical, and mandatory social media has become as a cutting edge marketing tool.

For the die-hard naysayers, a 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study has come with some revelations that effectively ends the argument about the utility of social media. This is what the Cone team found out:

Sixty percent of Americans use social media, and out of which, 59 percent interact with companies on social media Web sites. One in four interacts more than once per week.

93 percent of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media, while an overwhelming 85 percent believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media.

56 percent of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.

When asked about specific types of interactions, Americans who use social media believe:

a) Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
b) Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)
c) Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)
d) Companies should market to consumers (25%)

* Men, a much sought-after target in the online space, are twice as likely as women to interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% to 17%, respectively).

* Of the younger, hard-to-reach users (ages 18-34), one-third believe companies should actively market to them via social networks, and the same is true of the wealthiest households (household income of $75,000+). Two-thirds of the wealthiest households and the largest households (3 or more members) feel stronger connections to brands they interact with online.

Moral of the story: If you have anything to market at all, you cannot do without social media even if you are an elephant in the room!