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Go digital in the US

Americans rule the Internet, so any strategy to target the US better involve the digital world

The American population is among the most online-savvy on the globe. In fact, they make up an overwhelming 48 percent of the blogosphere. According to Edison Research, nearly 90 percent have Internet access, with more than half of all Americans aged twelve and over on one or more social networks. One third of these, or approximately 46 million Americans, use their social networks several times a day. Businesses should also note that 43 percent of frequent social networkers follow brands or companies.

The fact that almost half of all the world’s bloggers are American suggests that they are highly opinionated (28 percent of US adults give advice about purchases on social networking sites). Many of these bloggers are talking about service and brands. But that’s not just retail consumers: a report by DemandGen, “Breaking Out Of The Funnel,” concluded that 59 percent of B2B buyers researching a potential purchase reviewed it with peers who had considered a similar product or service. In this day and age, the vast majority of that research happens online.

As it’s almost certain that this behavior will be become more ubiquitous, more companies are engaging and interacting with customers and stakeholders through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and similar. They’re creating communities of their own on corporate and corporate-sponsored websites, bypassing media middle-men and taking advantage of the American tendency to share and communicate.

Be an authority

Of course, Americans can be famously skeptical; they won’t believe everything they read, particularly on the Internet. In order to communicate with your clients, customers and stakeholders, it’s important to position yourself as an authority – not only for your business, but also within your industry.

Because the Internet means direct access to your audience, corporate marketing is changing. Particularly in the States, it’s no longer just about directly promoting your own company through company-centric marketing messages – the kind that often fall on deaf ears with savvy Americans – but also about demonstrating thought leadership by sharing your expertise and knowledge about your industry. Providing third-party, objective content about relevant industry topics on news sites and customer communities, for example, should be an integral part of your marketing plan.

Just as Cisco has done with The Network, progressive companies are positioning themselves as thought leaders by creating their own independent resource site for industry professionals. Cisco describes The Network as “a place for people to tell stories and share information on the topics that are the most important to Cisco: Video, Collaboration, Core Networks, Mobility, Security, Data Center, Cisco Culture and Social Media.”

If you can do this successfully, you have a greater chance of your messages being shared and going viral. Here we’re talking about social network communities where B2B buyers talk to other buyers (or other industry parties) in more of a casual chat format. They’ll swap information, links, recommendations, influencing and supporting each other’s decision-making processes. This is where the rubber meets the road – real customer conversations that might also be about your products or services!

Here are a couple of interesting infographics that shed light on digital behavior in the US:

American identity according to social media usage

Who in the US is using which social media sites?

 

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