Tag Archives: facebook

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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What Spongebob Squarepants taught me about Social Media

SpongebobIf ever a picture told a thousand words, it’s this one, which recently appeared in my timeline on Facebook- sadly because a ‘friend’ had ‘liked’ it.

The complex relationship between God, cancer and Spongebob Squarepants must have passed me by, but it illustrates the beauty and the curse of socially referred, user-generated content- quality control is only as strong as the weakest link in your network.

It’s annoying when spam appears in your timeline from large brands, but this is no more annoying than an ad and you tolerate it because of the huge benefits that ‘free’ access to a tool like Facebook brings. Plus, you know it’s an algorithm’s ‘opinion’ rather than one of your nearest and dearest actively engaging with the content by clicking ‘like’.

I can’t help contrast this with my LinkedIn timeline. No doubt helped by the removal of automated twitter feeds into LinkedIn, the stream of updates from my professional network of over 550 contacts on LinkedIn (some of whom are also Facebook friends) doesn’t suffer the same pollution of ‘like spam’.

Accepting it’s not in any way scientific, there appears to be a clear difference in behaviour by the same people on Facebook as on LinkedIn. Hardly ‘hold the front page’ stuff, I know, but with more and more talk of the drive from “B2B” (business-to-business) to “P2P” (person-to-person) communications being fuelled by social media, there’s clear evidence to me that people do fluctuate between their “work” and “personal” self, and use separate social media platforms to power these dual personas. For this reason, I struggle to see how Facebook will ever evolve into a truly valuable social media tool for engaging B2B audiences.

Maybe 2013 will be the year Google+ really starts to take off. The segmentation possibilities that its ‘circles’ functionality give you help alleviate some of the issues I’ve touched upon above.

How do you use social media tools? Do you have different platforms for your ‘work’ and ‘personal’ self? In what ways do you manage your digital personal brand using social media?

Social Media Benchmark

I was one of about 250 marketers that attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing‘s launch of the Social Media Benchmark research at Bloomberg’s impressive offices in Finsbury Square this week.

This is the latest in a number of excellent research studies launched by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in recent years, led by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights at CIM.

Assembling an impressive panel of senior players from LinkedIn, YouTube and Skype, and hosted by Manus Cranny from Bloomberg TV, the audience were given a double-act walk through of the top-level findings by Thomas and Tara Beard-Knowland from ASI, Ipsos Mori.

The full report is due out in a few weeks but here are some of the headline statistics:

  • 80% of marketers know they need a social media strategy, yet only 7% are tracking the results
  • In 40-50% of businesses, marketing did not own the official channel for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (PR team seemed the other most common owner)
  • The number of marketers that rated their social media activities as ‘not at all effective’ was spread across a range: 24% (Twitter) 33% (Facebook) 37% (LinkedIn) 44% (YouTube).
  • Whilst about half of businesses surveyed planned to invest in training their current people to improve social media skills and competencies in 2012, about a quarter had no plans at all.

I look forward to poring over the detail when the report is published, but I left the event thinking that survey respondents are either:

  1. still in complete denial/ignorance of the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the tools they are using, and why (I believe this a broader issue than social media), OR
  2. they are unashamedly still in experimental mode, adopting the Google approach of “test and iterate” mentioned by Thomas in his closing summary

It’s hard to say for sure without the detailed findings, but I suspect there’s a bit of both.

However, with a social media landscape that continues to evolve and change almost daily, the important thing is that the CIM is leading the debate from centre stage.

Thank you and well done.

Digital- hype or high potential?

I was delighted to be asked to join a panel discussion on a recent CIM Webcast earlier this month entitled “Digital- what hasn’t happened yet- the shape of digital to come?’

Moderated by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights for CIM, the panel consisted of Mark Stuart, Head of Research for CIM, Mark Inskip, Digital Director EMEA, Accenture, and myself in the guise of a B2B Marketing practitioner.

The webcast can be accessed from this link, hosted by Thomson Reuters http://tinyurl.com/33xpsvq.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the online environment will continue to evolve at pace, there are some basic questions that any business needs to ask itself before embarking on a digital engagement programme:

1. Do I have a detailed profile of my ‘ideal’ customer[s]? 

If not, build one and make it personal- give them a name and refer to them in internal meetings and agency briefings.

2. Do I understand the media consumption habits of my ideal customer?

Do I know what they read, where they read it, and how they read it? Are they online? How much, and for what purpose? Which sites and/or social networking platforms do they use, and why?

3. Does my product/service really lend itself to using these new channels for communication and engagement with my target audience?

 I love this cartoon by Tom Fishburne http://tinyurl.com/39m5t9v which I believe should be compulsory viewing for everyone thinking about embarking on a social media journey.

This by no means exhaustive, but unless you answer ‘yes’ to every question, you should stop and reconsider.