Missing the Mark on Social Media

(This post can also be found on the Lotame Learnings Blog)

A recent study came out by Knowledge Networks titled: “Internet users turn to social media to seek one another, not brands or products.” Without even looking at the numbers, I think it’s safe to bet that it is in fact true that “Internet users turn to social media to seek one another, not brands or products.” There are two parts to every statistical experiment: 1) The design and 2) the analysis. In the case of this study, it is a bit troubling to see how biased the experiment is without even reading past the title. What do you think the results would be if I put out a report titled: “Music lovers turn to radio to seek music, not brands or products”, or “Movie lovers turn to movie theaters to seek great new movies, not brands or products.”

The reason marketers are so concerned with “Social Media” is because they realize that this is where users spend most of their time. This is where they “seek one another” to connect, engage, and share (in many cases about brands and products). According to a report from The Nielsen company, which, was distributed at San Francisco Ad tech:

“The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives,” said Charles Buchwalter, SVP, Research and Analytics, Nielsen Online. “In recent years the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online. In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically. Advertisers are starting to positively re-assess the value of the online experience and create more meaningful relationships with consumers.

And this data cannot be ignored.

Some major highlights from the Global Online Media Landscape report (pdf) regarding online video and social networks:

  • The number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003. The unique audience for online video surpassed that of email in November 2007.

  • Time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period.
  • In the past year, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27% and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
  • There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites.
  • In the past year, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%.
  • In February 2009, social network usage exceeded web-based e-mail usage for the first time:

It is a marketer’s job to penetrate the most popular mediums, and make their brands or products visible in the most efficient fashion. In today’s world, Social Media is the most popular medium and it is stillgrowing. So indeed, while users go to Social Media to “seek more personalized relationships“, it will still be a marketer’s job to try and penetrate this medium in efficient and meaningful ways. If a marketer can be successful in creating brand affinities with products in social media (which Lotame has had much success in doing – one example), then everyone wins as the consumer is able to find relevancy and the marketers are able to reach their target audience.


3 thoughts on “Missing the Mark on Social Media”

  1. What would you say is the most effective way for a small business that relies heavily on customer and client relationships to use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc…?

  2. Before we even consider how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc for a small business, its extremely important to look at these tools for what they really are (at least relate them to something you're familiar with). Once you do that, the picture is much clearer.

    For example..I could argue that…

    Facebook is really a party or a social gathering. Not dissimilar from any event you've ever been to. Just happens to happen online.

    Twitter is likened to a new sort of telegraph or email system. Instead of 1-1 communication (I email you, and you email me), you can send a quick, 140 character note for anyone to see (1- many communication).

    LinkedIn – Like Facebook/party, but everyone is wearing a suit and tie passing out business cards and handing out resumes.

    So..if you break it down first and relate it to things we are used to, its a bit easier to digest.

    Now as for specifics…

    Facebook – As a small business, I would create my own fan page. I would reach out to as many people as I could that were interested in my product and let them know about upcoming events, products and services. Make them a part of the conversation and a part of the company. Involve them in decisions. Get real feedback. Include them in the process.

    Twitter – Entire post on that here: https://danreich.com/?p=341

    LinkedIn – Use the LinkedIn polls to ask questions and surveys. Ask real problems to real people and get real consumer feedback. It's very easy to build things in a vacuum, but doing can also lead to a product or service that was completely off target from what the market wanted.

    In all of these examples, there is one general theme: Engage in conversation with your audience. When you do this, make sure you are doing it as a real person. I don't want to be friends with a brand or product, but I might want to be friends with THE people/person behind the brand or product.

    Hope that helps.

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