SOCIAL SUCKS a.k.a.I Guess a Twinkle in Her Eyeis Just a Twinkle in Her Eye
I love social media. (And yes, that declaration should confuse you based on the title of this piece.) But let’s face it – most of us suck at it. Completely, wholeheartedly, blindly, suck. I’m looking at you, marketers. And I’m most certainly looking at you, agency-who-only-pitches-tactics- that-will-win-you-some-bullshit-industry-award. In and of itself, social media can absolutely be valuable for marketers, brands and even consumers. But not until we all decide to see it for what it is and consider a different overall approach in light of what’s been going on around us. That’s the goal of this paper. I intend to present a succinct, but powerful argument for a new perspective on social as an “engagement” platform, supported by statistics and data as well as insights from marketing heavyweights. And that’s where we absolutely need to begin: thewww.mydisruption.com concept of engagement.
Maybe it’s time we collectively agree to reinvigorate the power behind the word“engagement”. Thanks to the recent egregious overuse of the term, I’m notentirely sure we can confidently identify a real moment of conscious interactionbetween Brand and Consumer. I give you the Cheshire Cat…According to an iMedia Connection analysis of Facebook activity for a specificweek in February 2012, Disney had some remarkable “engagement rates” andtook home “share rate of the week”! How did the iconic brand pull off such animpressive feat?It posted this picture with the truly connective call-to-action, “Smile! Pass it on.”
What if we’re fishing in the wrong pond?A study published in Q1 2012 identified the ability toengage consumers online as the #1 digital-relatedchallenge facing marketers today. On the surface, thismakes sense. The emergence of and passion towardssocial media has had significant impact on ourpersonal and professional lives. I doubt this can beargued. And when you look at the usage numbers fora Facebook or Twitter, how can a marketer not get allexcited pants about the potential?! But, what about the consumer?Almost 65% of people say they “hate” when acompany targets them through social media andnearly 60% labeled social media marketing asinvasive.
Social media is for the people, not the brands.“We signed up (to social media) to connect with eachother, not with commerce”, states Jay Baer, speaking forthe vast majority of us. I know I didn’t join Facebook toenter toilet paper application naming contests; I’m thereto hear all about groundbreaking developments in thelives of my friends and family. I hear ya, man, but there are like a billion customers online that we can sell to even easier (and cheaper!! OMG!!!) now!!True, the numbers are quite staggering. IgnoringFacebook, Twitter, foursquare and the ilk would certainlybe career suicide. Then again, that only takes intoconsideration the perspective of your VP of Marketing.What about Joe Schmo? Less than 5% of us desirebrand offers via Facebook or Twitter…even those thatgave permission to do so! Only 4% of us head toFacebook first to find a deal from a company.Approximately 60% of users on both Twitter andFacebook claim they don’t mention brands online…at all.
A quick aside Email marketing beats the ever-loving crap out of social media. Research shows that email drives 1,350% more traffic than social media (!!). Remember the study we mentioned that noted less than 5% of consumers want product offers via social media? Yeah, well it also found that 77% of the same respondents said they prefer email for such matters. www.mydisruption.com @MyDisruption
There are four additional danger zones inherent in socialmedia.1. Social media, as a whole, is maturing faster than most us are with our participation. The quantity of sites continues to rapidly grow (Path, Pinterest, Google+, etc.), outpacing most brands’ ability to keep up. Additionally, new developments within each platform are routinely rolled out, consistently changing the rules of the game.2. Fragmentation is a result of increased social options. Nearly 2/3 of respondents in a Microsoft Advertising survey stated their brand fan/follower base has high turnover rates, making reliable interaction a major challenge.3. Privacy concerns are, well, a concern. Consumers are starting to witness how information transmitted on various sites can be used by third parties (brands, employers, jealous boyfriends) and that realization may be sparking a privacy management revolution.4. Most troublesome is the recognition that marketers do not own the relationship. Make no mistake, Facebook and Twitter are the ones who own the data and analytics behind brand-consumer interactions. It’s their world, we’re just playing in it. There are three parties involved, and that’s an unsettling notion for your CRM efforts.
Okay, back to this silly “engagement” thing.In doing research for this piece, I ran across an article entitled “Orbit FacebookContest Driven by Fan Brand Engagement”. Read about the promotion and you tellme: Is this the definition of “engagement” that we’ve all settled on? Some sobering stats on Facebook marketing.Care of the brand advocacy enthusiasts over at Zuberance: 88% of Facebook users never return to a fan page once they “Like” it Only about 16%-18% of fans actually see brand posts in their newsfeeds Only 1% of Facebook fans engage with brands
Before we introduce a new, better engagement model, I thought it wise toaddress some concerns the smarter of you folks will undoubtedly haveabout this piece.1. Your stats are complete bullshit. Fair enough. I’ve cited sources where applicable and, for what it’s worth, I am a 100% believer in the idea that anyone can make numbers tell whatever story they choose. In my research I found plenty of data that paints social media in a very positive light, none of which I argue. This paper has a purpose, and a focused one at that.2. Are you just arguing semantics here, regarding the use of “engagement”? There’s a good chance of that, yes. Maybe that’s part of my positioning – we need to use that term more strategically. But from a philosophical standpoint, this is much more about being honest with ourselves, injecting some self-awareness into the marketing approach, and most important, implementing efforts that benefit the consumer.3. That Orbit example is a little unfair, brah. I tend to agree, but a guy’s gotta illustrate a point! The author notes that “this contest is part of a continuum of cross-platform marketing programs”, which certainly made me happy. Viewed as just one spoke in a larger branding execution, or analyzed as a deliberate one-off promotion intended to spark short-term brand awareness, the promotion was certainly valuable.4. You reference Facebook quite a bit as opposed to the other networks. Unfortunately, that’s where most of the research and stats live. However, I hope the thoughts presented here translate seamlessly across all platforms.5. Dude, I see you on Twitter all the time, ya damn hypocrite! Nice, thanks for following @MyDisruption!
The new engagement model O2O + Mobile x Social
Online to Offline is the center of this new approach. Why? Because over 90% of brand-related word of mouth conversations happen in-O2O person. That’s the headquarters of engagement. But the best way to maximize offline interactions is, coincidentally, to integrate online venues at each stage. It’s two worlds functioning at their peak because they complement each other so well. Over 90% of mobile internet access is for social, compared to less thanMobile 80% on desktops. Mobile is the present and the future. The reality we face is that customers now read Yelp reviews while standing outside your restaurant deciding whether to walk inside. They check in, share pictures of themselves using your product, and compare purchase options while inside your store. The Empowered Consumer now reigns supreme. RecommendationsSocial from “people I know” and opinions posted online account for the bulk of trusted sources by today’s consumer. If face to face marketing is the bicycle that powers engagement, social is the handlebars and pedals. Without social, offline doesn’t quite move with full velocity.
There are significant, proven psychological and sociological factors at playhere.1. Very different factors fuel people’s desire to communicate online versus offline. Primary drivers of online word of mouth are social, functional, and emotional (in order). Offline drivers are the reverse; emotional, functional and social. Put simply, offline interactions are more intimate and allow for emotional exchanges, while online interactions are designed for broadcasting and demonstrating “uniqueness”.2. There are two main reasons why people share. The first is an amazing, blow-you-away-unexpectedly product experience. The second is self-fulfillment and (let’s call it like it is) attention-seeking.3. Social media users purposely “manage” the way they are presented online. Studies show that more than half of social users say Facebook doesn’t reflect the “real me” and almost 65% disagree you can learn more about someone online than in person.
So, if we know……millions of people are accessing social media sites everysingle day, with the goal of interacting with friends and family,completely happy with no brand interactions whatsoever,intending to accumulate social currency by sharing uniqueinformation……most brand conversations and recommendations occur faceto face, where emotional connections are forged, during which“unexpected and amazing” incite the desire to share……smartphones are everywhere, are becoming a natural andimportant part of any in-person experience, are the mainplatform for social media use, are utilized to compare, seek outreviews and broadcast to social circles… What should we do about it?!
1. Center efforts on driving consumers to in-person experiences 2. Give them AMAZING 3. Offer customized, real-time, unique content aimed specifically at mobile…that’s easily shareable
1. Center efforts on driving consumers to in-person experiencesHugs & Handshakes Lessons From: Chobani Chobani Greek Yogurt approaches social media with a consistent eyeI use this term, Hugs & Handshakes, in many client towards in-person interactions withconversations, to refocus all attention on the its fans. To celebrate its newundisputed champion of “engagement”, in-the-flesh Olympics sponsorship, the brandinteractions. Does that mean your brand should executed a huge live viewing event inimmediately think of ways to throw huge outdoor its hometown, which was powered byparties? Not necessarily. Never forget the immense Facebook promotions and Twitterpower of brand advocates and strong communities. hashtags. On the mobile front, fans can follow O2O….2O? Chobani on foursquare to learn the whereabouts of its CHOmobileI’m gonna go ahead and amend the “O2O” thesis by sampling tour and visit the brand’sadding “2O”. Using online communication to drive Facebook page to check out the nextfolks offline is great, but let’s keep that train rolling location of the Champions Bus.by then guiding them back online. An all- “When you…provide ways for peopleencompassing effort that understands offline is the to interact, it’s possible to achieve results that transcend traditionalfoundation, but online plays a significant role before, marketing”, observes Nicki Briggs,during and after, is a winner. Chobani’s social strategist.
2. Give them AMAZING“People spread awesome, they don’t spread Lessons From: Ritz-Carlton Many of the world’s greatestmeh.” customer experience stories that involve AMAZING are the result of aA quote care of Scott Stratten, but shared by many strategically designed andgreat business people. When’s the last time you ran consistently demonstrated companyto tell a friend about a decent experience with a culture. Ritz-Carlton is known for this,brand? If you give people what they expect, you’ll but the following story could havealways be viewed as just that, average. Mediocre. happened anywhere. With just a littleNothing great. But when you offer AMAZING, you’re extra attention, effort, and creativity, this stands as The Greatest Customernow unexpected and remarkable. You’ve provided a Service Story Of All Time Andnatural reason to talk. Beyond: Surprise! READ IT HEREAMAZING doesn’t have to be grand, expensive, or There is no checklist or proceduralcomplicated. It can be an out of the ordinary manual that can be responsible fornewsletter unsubscribe page, a unique addition to a such an astounding performance of extra effort and care. Only a kick-assproduct order, a hand-written welcome sign for a culture that truly values its customersnew client, or fun signage to make customers smile. could offer AMAZING like this.Opportunities are absolutely everywhere.
3. Offer customized, real-time, unique content aimed specifically at mobile…that’s easily shareableMake it easy. Lessons From: EpicMix With well over 10,000 downloads, theFact – mobile is social (and everywhere). It’s time app receives info from RFID tags inwe turned our attention toward it and recognized the the clothing of Vail skiers, trackingconsiderable impact the mobile-offline combination distances traveled and automaticallycan have on outreach plans. Offering exclusive and syncing with social media accounts so you can effortlessly share yourreal-time content that is specific to mobile, adventures. It also is location-basedparticularly as a consumer is interacting with your and allows you to connect in real-brand, can have tremendous effects. time with nearby friends. Check me out, guys! Lessons From: Nike+ There aren’t many better examples ofHelp your customers express their unique selves and a product (acting as a service) thatshare that with the world via social. “The top-down has ongoing effects on the consumer’s life, all of which aremessaging of the past has been replaced by a two- constantly shared and talked about.way dialogue that has amplified the voice of the Tapping into existing passions is aconsumer and empowered them to demand a sure way to stay relevant.greater level of participation and sway.”
Folks, it’s time to rethink what we’ve beendoing. Social media has the ability to be agame changer. Still in its infancy, we’re alllearning as we go along. And I truly hopethese pages made you think. Perhaps youdisagree with the thoughts presented, butat the least, I hope they inspired you tocreate your own new approach toengagement and social media. P.S. Those cool pictures in this document were graciously borrowed from the folks over at theantisocialmedia.com. They are fantastic. Check em out.
THANK YOUFOR READING!We appreciate you sharing this with anyone you believe will value it. Any questions, concerns, requests, hit up our Founder at firstname.lastname@example.org about.me/DisruptiveDave www.mydisruption.com @MyDisruption