The evolution of social media

Social media marketing is dead. One of the primary justifications for marketers’ continued obsession with social media is the belief that online “conversations” about a brand are an indication of real-world consumer interest in the brand.

Engagement Labs completed extensive research looking week-by-week at social media and word of mouth conversation about more than 500 brands over the course of a year and it demonstrates that the answer is, not well at all.

While there is a modest correlation between online and offline conversation volume, such correlations are too infrequent to be relied upon. Correlations are near zero when it comes to other important metrics such as sentiment, sharing of branded content, or engagement by influencers.

Entire corporate social media strategies are crafted on baseless assumptions that presume brands can reach prospects and customers in social networks, consumers want and trust brand content, all engagement matters, likes are marketing KPIs [key performance indicators] and fans and followers are advocates.

Social media marketing is dead, but brands still need to be on social media IF they understand the why consumers use social media.

It’s almost numbing to contact a brand by phone when you need help. The endless phone trees  and “your call is important to us” are enough to drive anyone crazy.  However, consumers now are smart enough to understand that they can contact brands on social media and they do.  This leads to another problem.  The “we are sorry” via a Tweet or of facebook DM.  But, consumers don’t want to hear how sorry you are they want you to fix their problem, and fix it NOW, in Internet time. But brands just don’t get it.

The person doing your branded social media IS your brand. So why in the hell wouldn’t you empower him/her to do whatever is necessary to turn an angry/disappointed customer into a brand customer for life?

Amazon.com gets it.  When I had a damaged shipment I contacted them via Twitter and they sent out a replacement that same day.  Compare that to other brands like Direct TV or your Internet service provider who often take days or weeks to fix problems.

Social media is a great channel for customer service, but brands have to empower their people to solve problems not just say “I’m sorry”.

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