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Wednesday
Jan252012

The Wide Divide Between Brands And Consumers In Social Media

The CMO Council and Lithium conducted a survey that revealed a wide divide between what marketers think consumers want vs. what consumers really want when it comes to social media.

Querying over 1,300 consumers and over 120 CMOs and titled the “Variance in the Social Brand Experience” study, “… the findings challenge marketers to better understand cognitive, behavioral, and attitudinal dynamics as they seek to integrate social media into their overall marketing mix.”

It is painfully obvious  based on the findings that brand marketers, product managers, chief marketing officers and on down the line have a long way to go to “better understand (the) cognitive, behavioral, and attitudinal dynamics” of their customers, for consumers are speaking loud and clear as to what it is they want in exchange for connecting with a brand on social media.

The following question was posed to consumers…

Another finding from the survey revealed that 67% of the respondents (consumers) like a brand on Facebook to get exclusive offers.

The fact of the matter is consumers are engaging brands on social media because they expect something in return.

Liz Miller, Vice President of Marketing Programs for the CMO Council:

“The social brand explosion has created a wave of loyalty among social consumers who are eager to show their support and share their experiences with others online, but this loyalty comes at a cost—from savings to games—that consumers see as their social currency. Social can garner significant influence and pull for marketers who can bridge this gap in expectation and execution.”

From the looks of things not many CMOs and marketers are putting enough weight to the idea of social currency:

As you can see nearly 60% of CMOs believe people like their brand or follow them on social media because they like the content they are sharing, while only 33% believe their fans are looking for incentives or rewards, and only 27% believe customers are seeking special savings or experiences exclusive for followers.

See the wide divide?

From the findings:

Social customers not only want but expect to be rewarded for connecting with brands online, and there are a variety of ways to go about satisfying them. Special offers and promotions bring new customers into the fold while the chance for increased status, privilege, or rank keeps them engaged and motivates them to contribute more.

A mere 7% of marketers report that they reward their most active online contributors, which creates an open playing field for those who gamify the social customer experience in 2012; marketers should give social customers something to work for and a reason to level up. Socially savvy brands will reward social customers with greater status and privileges not just for their likes, but for a full range of beneficial behaviors—from voting on product ideas to blogging about a technical solution.

Those who see the most social success in 2012 will have something for everyone, offering multiple paths to success. While some social customers are product experts, others are friendly and welcoming, and still others are good at getting conversations started. Each is a valuable member of the complex ecosystem that is a brand community, each has something to offer, and each expects to be rewarded for their contribution.”

Here’s one more chart I want to share which speaks to the need for social currency… this one was posed to consumers:

See what this chart above is saying loud and clear? The key word is “new” as in “… new ways I’m using social media.” Consumers now have the expectation of being rewarded.

They are coming to the social media party with the expectation to be rewarded and if a brand is not rewarding them, there are others in that “open playing field” mentioned above that will gladly take their place.

Okay, brand managers and product managers and CMOs and anyone else in a marketing role…

What do you say to all of this?

What do take away from it?

How are you rewarding your customers currently?

How are you integrating social media into your overall marketing mix?

Sources: Chief Marketing Council,  Google Images

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