Social Media research confirms marketing/ consumer conflict

Social Media lessons have yet to be learned, it seems!

Recent research conducted by Pitney Bowes Software of adult internet users and marketing decision-makers in the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia, and reported in eMarketer, has confirmed what has been a recurring theme relating to the almost frenetic uptake of and activity undertaken by brands across the Social Media landscape.

It confirms that marketers are not heeding the acknowledged principle about social media and their marketing; that it is not just another sales medium to be exploited!

It needs to be careful managed to make sure they are not overcommitting to social channels, and, more importantly, that their activities on social media are aligned with consumer preferences and expectations. Not doing so can have negative consequences.

The disconnect is confirmed, to some extent, by the usage shown between the social media sites of targeted consumers and the social media the marketers use themselves.

With the exception of Facebook (there is only a difference of 9% points) and YouTube (12%) most of the marketers use other platforms to a greater extent than those used by general internet users (see graphic).

That’s not to say, however, that their actions on either Facebook or YouTube, are in tune with their customers expectations.

Engagement not Sales!

It might now be somewhat clichéd but social media users prefer using their chosen social media platforms to engage in more conversational interactions. Consumers have displayed time and again an indifference to—and at worst, annoyance at—marketing & sales messages being pushed at them on social media.

The problem is further exacerbated by social media sites, necessarily, needing to monetize their own activities and introducing services to maximise their own roi. Examples are Facebook’s Sponsored Stories and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.

A MediaBrix survey found that 57% of those who had seen a Sponsored Story thought it appeared as content in a misleading way, while 45% thought the same about Promoted Tweets.

And, the negative outcome was that MediaBrix found that 72% of those who felt they had been duped by a Facebook Sponsored Story felt the same way or worse about the brand afterwards. For Twitter, 62% of those feeling mislead by a Promoted Tweet had a similar negative perception.

Too often, marketers brought up in the industry, pre-digital, have not yet fully grasped the concept of inbound marketing and cling onto some old traditional style broadcast media concepts.

The marketing philosophy has not changed just the methodology needed to successfully achieve it!

What’s been your experience of your social media marketing?

About Rob Willox

Inbound Marketing and SEO professional working and living in Scotland. Owner of Search Marketing company, WebMedia Inbound Marketing dedicated to helping small businesses get more from the internet and improve their profitability.
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