Other articles by BIRD Los Angeles
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
There's no question that social media is one of the most highly influential marketing engagement channels
we’ve seen. The constantly emerging nature of digital media has been pushing the engagement envelope
for some time, but what’s new and different about social media is that it’s now a two-way street.
A continuously emerging dialogue now exists been marketers and their highly social, fully networked, and
Internet-savvy consumers. The emergence of social media has forced marketers to rethink everything from
strategies to budgets to head count in order to develop and manage the constantly evolving social brand
We set out to take a closer look at the state of affairs in the busy two-way street of social media marketing
from both points of view: the consumer’s and the marketer’s. We surveyed 132 senior marketers and more
than 1,200 consumers on the subject of social media, asking each how and why they are currently using it,
what they get out of it, and what they’d like to see it do for them.
The bottom line is that consumers want more—more experiences, more engagement, more rewards, and
more reasons to connect with each other and brands through social media. And brands are missing the
boat. They see the benefits of reaching out to customers through social channels, but they aren’t yet fully
invested. While 52 percent of marketers reported they believe their brands have enjoyed greater influence
thanks to their presence in social networks like Facebook, only 17 percent said that social media is fully
meshed, aligned, and integrated into the overall marketing mix.
We also found that while the voice, velocity, and value of social media marketing do positively influence
purchasing behavior, adoption rates, and brand perception, social customers are a tough crowd. Their
expectations are high. When they seek support online, they expect it to be fast and great. When they
connect with a brand online, they expect acknowledgement, greater exclusivity, and higher status. They’re
fine with brands reaching out to them through social networks, but the message must be relevant, timely,
Yet this demanding audience is not to be dismissed. When they are acknowledged, rewarded, and offered
relevant information and special experiences, they become exceedingly loyal and go out of their way to
help the brand meet key business drivers—like better customer support, faster innovation, and increased
demand and awareness.
The gap between what consumers want and what they’re getting from brands online represents a timely
opportunity for social business advantage. Online consumers are decidedly willing to act on behalf of the
brands they love. Brands that give their social customers useful and engaging online experiences, a chance
to connect with each other, and special rewards and status will pull away from the pack in 2012.