Research finds that people are more likely to engage with brands than celebrities on social network
Around a fifth of people (20.3%) claim to like or follow brands on social networks yet not enough brands are responding to consumer complaints, according to a consumer study from the Internet Advertising Bureau, research company Opinion Matters and social media agency RMM. The survey – designed to investigate how mainstream different types of social media activity have become – found that more consumers engage with brands on these properties than celebrities, with 13.4% of people liking or following celebrities on sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
The UK study of over 1000 internet users found that, unsurprisingly, the most popular activities on social networks are unrelated to brands, with 55.9% of people use these sites to view their friends’ photos, whilst over a third (34.8%) use networks to make social plans or find out about events. The results show that brand engagement within social media, although significant, is still not considered fully mainstream – only 12.7% of people give organisations feedback on social networks, and only 11.2% use these sites to watch branded content such as TV commercials.
However the survey found that social networking is rapidly infiltrating the broadcast media in the UK, with almost a third (32.6%) regularly listening to radio shows or watching TV programme which reads out tweets sent by listeners/viewers. The results also showed that there is some way to go before the customer service side of social networking becomes widely adopted amongst consumers, yet at the same time not all brands are responding to complaints via these properties. Whilst 7.7% people had complained about a brand on a social network or forum, less than 40% of these people had received a prompt response. Of those who had been contacted by the brand, the majority (77.8%) had been impressed with their reply.
Amy Kean, head of the IAB social media council said: “This survey uncovers the fact that whilst complaining about brands via social media isn’t yet a mainstream activity, around 60% of these comments were left unanswered. As consumers become more acquainted with using social networks to try and get in touch with brands directly, it’s important that businesses are at least aware of the negative conversations that take place. Even though responding to each and every complaint is not always relevant, being armed with this information could prove invaluable to feed into the overall communications strategy.”
Iain MacMillan, managing director of social media agency RMM said: “Our survey shows that organisations’ engaging directly with people in social media spaces isn’t yet mainstream behaviour. Around 20% of people surveyed have followed or liked an organisation, only 11% have provided feedback and less than 4% have had a question or complaint responded to, in social media. However, there are a number of organisations showing how it can be done and achieving great results – and we can learn some great lessons from them.”
Russell Goldsmith, Digital & Social Media Director of broadcast communications specialist markettiers4dc said: “The fact that listeners and viewers of programmes on commercial and BBC networks are hearing presenters using quotes from celebrities, politicians or sports stars made on Twitter as part of their shows will help to encourage more consumers to engage with Social Media and bring it into the mainstream part of our media diet. It’s therefore imperative for brands to use this opportunity to communicate with their customers via these channels, especially as such a large percentage of our sample want to hear what they have to say by following them – they are, after all, the potential advocates of those brands.”
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