34 minutes that should change the way you look at social media

I love facts, me. Hard, numbers-based evidence. As marketing professionals, it’s this objective assessment of the relevance or performance of campaigns and channels that stops us being perceived as ‘fluffy’ by our colleagues in other functions.

Which is why I loved every one of the 34 minutes of Mark Ritson’s recent speech at Melbourne Business School. The scope of his presentation was how social media is used by brands to communicate to target customers in Australia.

According to Mark, social media has been the “Greatest act of overselling in the history of marketing” – meaning that its value for brand communications has been drastically overstated for what is a primarily social (person to person) media.

I’d highly recommend investing 34 minutes to watch this video, but as a taster here are my top three facts from Mark’s presentation:

  1. If you look at the top 10 brands in Australia, the number of Facebook likes as a proportion of their total customer base was 2-3% – so 97% of customers are not engaged (have hit ‘like’ at some point) with the brands on Facebook.
  2. It gets worse. The proportion of the customer base that had recently engaged with the brands’ content on Facebook in the last 7 days was just 0.02%.
  3. Twitter is no better, with at best 0.7% of brands’ customer bases as followers on Twitter

Add to this the fact that as few as 20% of users turn to social media to research brands (meaning 80% don’t) and the picture starts to build that for all the fanfares, noise and excitement about the growth of social media, the jury is well and truly out on its use as an effective brand (b2c) communication.

Take a look for yourself – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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