The myth that consumers want a relationship with your brand

mythsocmediaOK, I have had enough of it.  The idea that consumers really want a relationship with 99% of brands is pure bull spread by social media experts who are waiting to pounce on companies that feel that social media is going to lead them to sales and profits.  Well, I don’t mean to throw salt on the wound, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Over the last month I have been getting results from an online survey asking consumers about social media and their relationship with brands.  There were some real eye-openers too.  We learned, for example, that consumers are often using their mobile phones “to keep up” with their online world (email, social media) and that they don’t have the time to do everything they want to do online.  In addition the number one reason people engage brands online is to get discounts.

Does interruption advertising still work?

According to what we are hearing yes.  The Facebook sponsored posts can grab attention and online time, but they have to be both creative and target the right group.  “If there is a new flavor of Kettle Potato chips, then I might click on the ad to learn more, but I go through my Facebook page updates pretty fast, ” said one person while another said “I love to cook so I have been seeing more ads about cooking and cooking supplies so I click on them”.

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However, when we probed we found that users get turned off if the ad takes them to a brand Facebook page.  They would prefer to go to the branded website instead.

The survey, which we have been doing for 3 years now, indicated that the “love affair” with some brands is ending.  Today it’s about saving money and comparing branded items with other brands, especially store brands.  While the economy seems to be improving recent data indicates that a lot of new jobs are paying less than the jobs that have disappeared.

Social media is not going away, but marketers need to understand that although they require a social media marketing plan that other marketing initiatives can be more effective in driving brand objectives.  Consumers expect you to be on social media, but you had better be prepared to listen and talk to them as people not targets.

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