Consumers Engage Differently on Email and Social Media

Discounts and offers drive participation, but social media followers also want to show support

Consumers connect with brands both via email lists and by “liking” companies on Facebook. While users want to receive discounts and special offers via both channels, connecting with a brand on social media is an added public display of support.

Chadwick Martin Bailey analyzed why consumers engage via email and Facebook and found that receiving discounts and special offers was the top motivation. Of the US respondents who had an email account, 58% cited that as a reason for subscribing to email lists. Other reasons for email participation included taking part in a specific promotion (39%) and because the consumer was a customer or supporter of the business or nonprofit (37%).

On Facebook, the desire to receive discounts and special offers was also the top reason for “liking” a brand, but it was only cited by 41% of US Facebook users, a smaller percentage of respondents than those that subscribed to email lists for the same reason. Additionally, 25% of respondents said they “like” a business or nonprofit’s Facebook page because they want to show their support, and 22% said they wanted to also demonstrate their support to others on Facebook.

Both email and Facebook can be great ways to connect with customers and supporters of a business or nonprofit. Email lists have their benefits, including the ability to have a database of contact information of supporters or customers, but with Facebook, there is the added advantage that the consumer is publicly showing support via a social recommendation. A 2011 study from 8thBridge found that consumers most often “like” a retailer on Facebook because they purchased a product and liked it; they then used Facebook to provide a straightforward recommendation for friends to see.

It still holds that consumers want discounts and deals when they connect with a business or nonprofit via email or Facebook. But, especially as consumers live more of their lives on social networks, connecting to a business or nonprofit on Facebook is not only about promotions, but a way to show public support for preferred businesses and nonprofits.

Source eMarketer

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Can the JOBS Act Jump-Start Entrepreneurship?

Emineo Media Entrepreneur

Emineo Media EntrepreneurCan the crowdfunding-focused Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act really spark entrepreneurship, economic growth and hiring?

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a staunch advocate of crowdfunding and contributor to the #FixYoungAmerica campaign to promote youth entrepreneurship, believes it can.

Businesses can’t raise money through crowdfunding in a meaningful way right now because of federal restrictions and red tape. McHenry wants to change that. A bill he introduced to near-unanimous support in the House became part of the foundation for the JOBS Act, which has been passed by Congress and awaits President Obama’s signature.

McHenry says he’s fed up with the pattern of entrepreneurs being forced to finance their projects through their own lines of credit, sometimes backed by the value of their homes. He sees two problems with this way of doing things: First, it can be difficult to get credit, and second, the value of many homes tanked during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, making mortgage-backed financing a much weaker option for capital-seeking entrepreneurs.

“The result of these realities is plain and simple,” writes McHenry in his chapter for the #FixYoungAmerica book. “Countless young, ambitious entrepreneurs are out of luck as they look for capital to expand and compete on the open market.”

Crowdfunding, says McHenry, is the solution to those problems. It would allow entrepreneurs to raise money from many different investors, each pitching in a small amount compared to angel investors and their giant checks. Theoretically, that mitigates the risk of investment for each contributor.

McHenry first became aware of the concept after reading a letter written by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, a former technology CEO, is one of the most technologically astute members of Congress. In the letter, he wrote 33 questions to the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates the U.S. stock market.

“Serving as chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee for issues related to financial services and banking regulations, I had the luxury of reading this letter before the ink had dried,” writes McHenry. “I soon realized I was flipping through the pages of a letter that would transform the way Congress prioritized capital formation.”

One particular question caught McHenry’s attention: Would the SEC allow small businesses to engage in crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding, says McHenry, piqued his interested because it reminded him of the way political campaigns raise money — often, from lots of donors giving small donations (PACs aside, of course).

McHenry threw his energy into researching crowdfunding as a mechanism for investing in small businesses. To learn more, he went to websites such as IndieGoGo, which lets people raise money from “the crowd” for charities, businesses and other projects. Eventually, McHenry was convinced that crowdfunding was part of the solution to drag America out of its economic slumber.

“I was becoming a diehard fan of crowdfunding, especially since it utilized online technology to increase small business access to new sources of financing,” writes McHenry. “Social networks were not just for keeping up with friends — they could become marketplaces for everyday investors and entrepreneurs.”

After McHenry introduced his Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, he used a House Financial Services Committee hearing about it to spark a conversation on the Hill about crowdfunding.

“As each witness spoke,” writes McHenry, “members and staff began to gain interest in crowdfunding, a form of capital formation that was foreign to them that very morning.”

The idea was met with some resistance from McHenry’s colleagues who believed crowdfunding was too risky of an investment platform. McHenry, though, says that dispute was a blessing in disguise — it got entrepreneurs fired up and focused on explaining why the status quo wasn’t working.

Eventually, the Financial Services Committee unanimously approved the bill and sent it to a full vote in the House. It sailed through on a 407-17 bipartisan vote, after receiving President Obama’s blessings in a jobs speech. McHenry’s bill was then included in a larger small businesses reform package — the JOBS Act — which has been sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

“After observing how quickly our nation’s leaders were able to learn and embrace a new and democratic form of capital formation,” writes Rep. McHenry, “I am more confident than ever that the U.S. will once again retain its title as the world’s most dynamic and entrepreneurial marketplace.”

Do you think crowdfunding is a viable way to jumpstart American investment and growth?

Source Mashable

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