Some common tactics brands use in their social media marketing are missing the target, according to a new study by Get Satisfaction.
Bucking conventional wisdom, the study found that, for nearly 90 percent of some 2,000 consumer respondents, a company’s website — not a social network — is the preferred place to research products and find information that leads to purchasing decisions.
These findings clearly illustrate the gap between how consumers want to engage with brands via social media channels, versus how companies are actually using the tools.
Real value comes from branded communities or company websites
Conducted by the Incyte Group, the study demonstrated what savvy marketers already know — that real value for your brand doesn’t come through Likes, Pins or Tweets.
It comes down to engaging customers to create lasting relationships built on relevant information, which can only be accomplished via a branded customer community on a company website.
When customers look to part with their hard earned cash, they want to do so with brands they know and trust, not companies that repeatedly spam them on Facebook or Twitter.
Higher value on customer feedback than brand ads
Further findings suggest that, while consumers turn to social networks for personal connections, they prefer to join a branded customer community that is moderated by the brand when researching products.
In addition, consumers give a significantly higher value to feedback from other customers who have used those products than to brand advertisements on Facebook or Twitter. In fact, 50 percent of consumer respondents preferred content that has been vetted as high-quality by other consumers.
Common tactics questioned
“Consumers are clearly saying that a primary value proposition of a customer community is that it allows them to quickly access information that is relevant and accurate — and they prefer it when that information is provided by other people like them,” said Dale Sakai, partner, the Incyte Group.
The report calls into question many of the tactics companies use to achieve the holy grail of social media: the creation of brand advocates. In an effort to get a quick return from social media, many companies target consumers with lots of influence online and offer them swag as “payment” for positive social media endorsements.
But the Incyte Group study found that companies should avoid hiring “influencers,” and instead turn to their existing customers for more authentic advocacy. According to the report, 82.6 percent of customers will gladly act as a brand advocate after being part of a branded customer community, and fully 50 percent of them would do so without any incentive.
Companies not getting the results they want
“It’s clear that companies aren’t getting the results they need from investing in social media. Consumers don’t just want to be broadcasted to. They want to engage with each other and companies about products and services they care about,” said Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction.
“This study validates that social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement driven by a branded customer community and not be viewed and used as yet another digital advertising channel. Getting results from social media is about relevant interactions throughout the customer life cycle.”
Conducted by the Incyte Group, the survey focused on responses from 1,897 qualified consumers who actively use the Internet and represent adults from all age, socio-economic and geographic groups in the U.S. The full report is available here.
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