In many seminars I have been asked this question and hey, the guys from ExactTarget CoTweet have given an answer some months ago: What annoys people when they follow brands on the social web, and what makes them like brands? Discounts we knew it. Well, if you still think it is the frequency and too many updates on promotions, you might be right but it is coming worse.
Just imagine you publish a status update that carries some wording in poor typo or, even worse, a grammar mistake. If you read this infographic, you might get the impression that sending out hundreds of status updates asking people to go in shops, to buy tech gadgets, or tell them to buy those online, makes people not turn away from loving your brand. It is actually not that bad, it seems…
However, if you loose the appropriate tonality in your social accounts and a certain kind of quality control gets lost like poor spelling mistakes, then your brand might face a challenge in terms of reputation and followership.
„A lot of people talk about the need for brands to be less formal when they communicate through social media, but this survey shows that there is a danger in letting standards slip too far.“ Lance Concannon, Director of Disruptive Communications.
„The findings also illustrate that you can’t take a one-size fits all approach in social media. Younger consumers clearly have different expectations and priorities – overall people said that not posting updates frequently enough wasn’t a major concern for them, but the 18- to 24-year-olds listed it as their most important issue“, says Concannon whose company put together the infographic.
How about you? What do you think annoys people when brands are on social media. Maybe it still is your hundreds of status updates on a day?
The IT company IBM were the first to make brands aware of the perception gap between what customers want from brands on Social Media, and what companies see as necessary. Some new studies from the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Lithium make clear that this perception gap widens.
What customers want…
The CMO Council asked 1,300 customers from around the world in a multiple-choice study. They discovered that 67% followed or liked brands to receive discounts and special offers. 65% replied that they connected with brands in order to get access to games or competitions while 60% want to connect with other customers.
What brands see…
The astonishing fact is that when the same survey was held with 120 CMOs (chief marketing officer), the results showed similar figures with the IBM study: Only 33% of the CMOs believed that their Social Media fans and followers were engaging with the brand for some kind of incentive or reward. Even more, just 27% understood that their customers were after exclusivity in terms of experience and savings.
Social Media is not a top three priority for one in ten CMOs. The reason is not changing for years probably. 67% said a lack of time and resources makes up for their poor efforts. This is even more amazing when we consider that 72% of the customers use Social Media to connect with brands. AND: 80% are more likely to try a product based on a friend’s recommendation on Social Media, which probably means a Social Network. There is no explanation that could make sense for this Social Media ROI (=Risk of Ignorance).
PS: This little infographic illustrates the digital divide between customers and brands.
more „Likes“ and engagement on mobiles, another new study by Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite shows what the real value of „Likes“ is. Although many brand marketers are working on the ROI, most companies still try to find some more value in the social engagement of consumers.
The Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite global online consumers’ research states that the main reason for following or liking a brand or company on social networks is to receive discounts and special offers.
„While some may argue that consumers’ interest in discounts has faded, Nielsen data shows the desire for deals is still strong worldwide,” concluded NM Incite.
The results correspond with the study by ExactTarget and CoTweet from last year. The former study made clear that 40% of brand fans like a page predominantly for their doscounts and promotions.
The new NM Incite finds even higher figures. Almost 60% of US social media users visit social networks to receive coupons or promotions. And even more, 23% do this on a weekly basis. 45% of North American consumers had the strongest interest in using social media for deals, followed by consumers in Asia-Pacific (34%) and Latin America (33%).
Social deals hunters „Like“ at home and at workplace
For most people it does not matter whether they are at home or at their workplace when using the benefits of the Social Web. A sample of ten major markets shows that nearly 40% of active Web users check coupons and rewards sites such as Groupon, Coupons.com and Living Social from home and work computers in September. However, there are respondents -under the age of 20 and 55- to-59-year-olds- who were less likely to follow brands for discounts. Here friends’ recommendations are the drivers for social engagement.
„Social deal hunters“ are obviously also visitors of social networks and blogs. NM Incite found a strong overlap. In their test phase in September, 43% of visitors to social networks and blogs also visited a coupons or rewards site. And, 44% of Facebook’s audience and 63% of Twitter’s audience visited these deal sites. The study concludes that Facebook becomes a key source of traffic to Groupon and Living Social. Groupon’s and Living Social’s visitors came directly from Facebook. This also shows the link between deals and social networking sites, and how companies can motivate consumers to deals.
We all have our purse full of plastic cards for customer loyaly programs. These won’t make us rich. They make us save money, or get kickbacks from companies and brands if we want. And the philosophy of these programs is clever. Companies have the feeling of being in touch with their clients on a regular basis, making sure customers stay informed about their product offerings.
The customers bottleneck is, well yes, we have to carry multiple plastic cards in a credit card format with us. So, why not leaving these cards behind after 20 years and just make customers fans on Facebook and/or followers on Twitter of brands?
Imagine you go into a store and you’ll see a “Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or on our iPhone app” sign taped to the cash mashine instead of receiving print and plastic to carry home?! – Why not save the trees and oil resources!?
Companies install reward program cards or partner with small business credit cards rewards to make us buy more of their products, or more frequently. And companies get more feedback on our buying habits. So, for companies these cards are an essential part of their customer loyalty strategy.
And customers with a big purse are happy. Others don’t want to have all these cards. Thus, these customers are not lsitening to what’s the latest promotion. Now, who of the male world is happy with all these plastic cards making our trouser pockets look like fat kangaroo pouches?
In most cases, these loyalty cards are addressing and being used by an old-economy’s vanity (IMHO), or women. „Look how much companies are interested in having me as their customer“, I heard a woman say the other day.
A recent study by the CMO Council „The Leaders in Loyalty: Feeling the Love from the Loyalty Club“ shows the trouble of loyalty programs. 54% of consumers mention that irrelevant messages, low value rewards, and impersonal engagements may decrease their loyalty for brands and their services, and with that their loyalty programs.
And yes, we can understand this fact when our online and offline mailboxes are full of non-personalized, unexhiting and unintersting promotions from company’s so called loyalty programs. Talking of me, these loyalty programs get one chance and I cut those cards into pieces straight away when the company loyalty program fails.
Now, what does this means for loyalty programs when we match these results with the latest survey by MarketingSherpa. The new web generation and prosumers love following brands as they expect savings, learning about specials and sales as the top motivation to friend and/or follow a brand online. If companies are aware of this fact and learn from it, why not replacing the old loyalty card concept then?
The benefit of the fan and follower systemtic is quite obvious…
– You become a fan and/or follower when a brand becomes of interest for YOU as a customer
– You become a fan and/or follower of your favorite brand when YOU are in a purchase process
– You can check status updates on sales, discounts and promotions when YOU need them (not when the company wants to sell more products)
OK, thinking of business intelligence and data mining sales cycle topics, it might become difficult for companies to track purchase processes as good as now. But, isn’t the customer king with the rise of social media? And companies could save money for print mailings and their plastic card production, right?
Some weeks ago, I have thought about Twitter as a sales tool and with this post, I am trying to take this idea a bit further. It shall illustrate how much a company’s sales and customer service strategy gets influenced by a new social web strategy where the customer holds the power of interest in promotions.
So, let us know what you think about the idea that Facebook fan pages, Twitter company accounts or corporate LinkedIn groups could replace loyalty programs in the future? A dream, a vision or a stupid idea?