A strong brand has the opportunity to engage and draw consumers to return in the future. However, consumer behaviors with social media are constantly evolving, resulting it important for firms to take an active role in managing their social presence. As a result, understanding current behavior and segmental differences in how current and prospective customers use the these platforms can enable brands to better create strategies that cater to these groups.
eVOC Insights conducts syndicated research, recruiting 1000 participants bi-annually to evaluate one of 10 different cruise websites, including providers (Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean) and online travel agencies (CruisesOnly, Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity), to ascertain the leaders in brand affinity, user experience, future call-to-action, and respondent mobile / social behavior.
In order to understand user differences in social media behaviors, two segments of participants are recruited: “New to Cruise” (never previously cruised) and “Experienced Cruisers” (been on a cruise in the past). Respondents were asked the following questions:
Both current and prospective consumers, who are interested in cruising, are socially engaged; for these users, Facebook is the most common platform. Furthermore, both segments use social media as a means to research available cruises, providing brands with an additional channel to interact and attract customers.
Importantly, a customer’s prior cruise experience influences the level of interaction with a brand’s social media. For the “New to Cruise” segment, visiting Facebook is the most common action, followed by liking or following a brand on Facebook. While most of respondents have Facebook, the data suggests that Facebook proves to be a valuable touch point of interaction with these prospective customers.
On the other hand, “Experienced Cruisers” indicate a greater tendency to participate in more advanced social media tasks, including but not limited to following a brand, leaving a comment on the brand’s Facebook and sending a picture from a cruise page. These activities suggests that this segment can be valuable advocates for a company’s brands. Furthermore, usage of social media with a cruise brand is not limited to Facebook, and extends to other platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.