Forget the numbers of people who are using social media for a second. Forget the hype from so called social media “experts” who go to extremes to connect social media marketing to ROI. The bottom line is that consumers expect you to be on social media when they need to contact you or have a problem and for that reason alone you need to view social media, not as a marketing channel, but an essential part of your customer brand experience.
First let’s dispel some myths.. Syncapse, the firm that pegged the average value of a Facebook fan at $174 earlier this year, worked with Hotspex to interview 2,080 consumers in the first quarter about their reasons for becoming Facebook fans. The number one reason according to them was “to support the brand I like” but that was closely followed by “to get discounts and coupons” Now of course let’s remember that the firm that conducted this research sells social media platform software to brands (gee, what’s the chance of that). I would however counter with an assertion that I have made several times on this website “how many brands do consumers have time to have a relationship with?”. I mean open up your fridge and tell me how many of those brands you have time to have a relationship with?
The mistake that most marketers make when it comes to social media is the belief that someone really wants to like a jelly or soda brand and see their posts on their home page feed.
So does this mean that you shouldn’t use social media ? No, not at all. The fact is that consumers expect you to be there and when they raise their hands and say “I want to interact with you” your brand has to be there. The other key reason is that social media is an extremely valuable channel to listen to your audience and to address their concerns via updated content or direct engagement.
As marketers what you need to determine is just how much your social media presence translates into conversion and your overall brand experience. I have said many times that if Coke’s Facebook page disappeared tomorrow they would not lose one tenth of one percent in market share. People purchase Coke because they prefer it to other soft drinks not because they are the number one page on Facebook.
Now that more and more research is showing that consumers don’t like ads in their social media feeds or view posts from brands they like in their home page feed it’s time to see what social media is and isn’t. It is part of the brand experience it isn’t a broadcast channel for your brand.