January 10, 2012

Mind the Gap…464 Million Users

I came across this article by eMarketer today (1/10/12) entitled Most Consumers Still Don’t Talk About Brands on Social Media.

Now, I generally take a pass on most eMarketer articles as the poor graphics just are inexcusable.  However, this post’s title really caught my eye (a piece of advice most writers can take to the bank).  Considering some of the project work that we have done at Covalent Marketing and some of the work we have done using social media scanning tools, I find this research to be frustratingly useful.


  • 57.8% of Facebook users have never mentioned a brand in their Facebook statuses.
  • Only 24% of US internet users first learn about new brands, products and services through social media (responded with “Most Frequently” or “Often”).

What does this mean?  Well, there’s good news in that 336 mm have referenced a brand.  But seriously, social media is a fire hose…there is no denying that.  However, when we use tools such as Crimson Hexagon, Alterian SM2 or Radian 6 to look for a “story”, it will not be enough to simply investigate the brand name.  You need to have topics, influencers, influences, context.  You need to dig a little bit to understand affinities and relationships – not just mentions.

Because social media data is generally free, more and more smart marketers are leveraging to learn about their brand strength.  However, it cannot be forgotten that brand awareness travels at an equal or faster rate through other mediums (in the article, word of mouth is still a huge player.  This is especially true in up and coming generations of purchasers.).  Finally, it seems that brands are still struggling to develop action from consumers on the social platforms.   Brands simply must give customers something to talk about – something that makes it #Worthwhile#Exciting#Engaging#Cool#Unique#Weird enough to talk about.  The brand awareness in and of itself is not sufficient.  The mention is only a little significant. Without influence and engagement, it’s just a word. With influence and engagement, it can become a movement.

Simply using the latest media to support old forms of communication such as posting to Facebook or twitter the same offer a company put in an email is not likely to get anyone to reference the brand.  Gamifying a brand is more than adding a drop and drag.  Adding videos of corporate advertising is not going to work (unless you’re the Evian Babies or Old Spice).  If brands want the other 464mm people to show up, then they need to rethink their approach.

Which brands get it right?  Which brand would you rank as #fail?  What are your thoughts?