Brand motivations in social media

I think its still fascinating the amount of brands who struggle to grasp social media (or how to carry it out). For many prospective clients and people within the marketing world it’s almost seen as a dark art. How do you get these fans? What do you say to them? What will they do for us? and, the million dollar question, whats the ROI?

Brands know that they need to be in the social space but not necessarily why they are playing there, not to mention how they justify another budget back to their boss. Most common is the slicing of an already lean digital budget even more by adding yet another platform to the mix. Whilst there is no doubt digital marketing (and budgets) are expanding, when you look at the amount of platforms they have to cover, from the innovations that are constantly occurring, are they really getting bigger? But I digress, let me leave that one for another day (and answers on a postcard….!)

What prompted my thoughts around brand motivations was this graph I stumbled across in a slideshare presentation – attributed to a global research study done on social media motivations.

It’s not massively surprising that the main reason users follow or like a brand is for exclusive deals or offers – the rise of online vouchering has been testament to the growth in that.

The interesting points, and yet another reason why stats such as this should be taken with a pinch of salt are:

  • Over 32% of individuals following a brand on Facebook declare they do so because they are a current customer. Is this really an insight we can take anything from? Of course you’re going to have heard of any brands you decide to follow and, with the exception of luxury brands you might aspire to be part of or draw inspiration from, chances are you’ve purchased from them BUT this doesn’t really tell us why you’re following them over the millions of other brands you buy into every day. They must be doing something different. There must be a more insightful thing to learn?

 

  • Under 10% of individuals state it’s because they have friends who are fans or followers. Is this the death of recommend a friend? Probably not. Social snowballing is evident from any campaign you’ve ever done in the social arena. By getting a fan to post up content or promote your brand chances are you will get something back from that – even if it’s a 0.01 fan for every fan you acquire. You might not have joined “just” because your friend has but, when you see something interesting a friend has done (and this is based on the brand having given them something interesting to do in the first place) why wouldn’t you check it out? It’sPR and I can’t see it dying anytime soon!

 

  • Less than 25% of people said it was because of interesting or entertaining content and this, as far as I can tell, is where mainstream brands are getting it wrong. Iconic brands, statement brands, fashion brands are never going to struggle. Being fans of Apple, Nike or Gucci isn’t just about saying you like the brand it’s about declaring to everyone you know that you like the brand – it’s wearing the label without ever having to invest into it. These are the brands that could afford to be lazy – they ” have to work hard for their fans. They will naturally come to them. The brands that need to worry are those building a page, perhaps even investing in making it look pretty BUT then they think status updates and a photo here and there will do the trick. It wont. Unfair? Okay –  it might. For now. But as individuals get more socially crowded they will get better at screening their social spaces. As with every age-old marketing practice that came before social it will come down to being interesting, being different and saying something that a consumer thinks is worth listening to.
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Posted on August 26, 2010, in Social Media, Think Digital and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Wow, I had heard that the most effective social media marketing was using coupons and discount offers, but I hadn’t seen any proof of it yet…

    Thanks for the insightful post!

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