In today’s guest feature, insight agency McCallum Layton takes a closer look at how consumers are engaging with brands on social media, as part their annual social media snapshots report.
There’s no doubt that the growth of social media has created a powerful new tool through which brands are able to communicate with consumers. Coca Cola, the top performing brand on social media has notched up an impressive 93 million fans so it’s certainly not difficult to see the significant role that this relatively new platform can play in a marketing campaign.
The opportunities to engage keep on growing. Instagram for example, a page which was previously only open to a select group of brands is now accessible to all. But is this necessarily a good thing?
The ‘climb to get online’ is potentially damaging the social media experience, and the indication is that the market may be moving towards saturation. A recent report from Forrester Research, showed that over 80% of top global brands actively post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram, and are doing so more frequently than before. Despite the increase in content, engagement rates on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest have all declined. Talk about information overload! Are consumers getting bored with brands on social media?
At McCallum Layton we conduct an annual study into how consumers use social media to interact with brands. When we first carried out the study in 2014, 39% of respondents believed they will interact more with brands over the next 12 months via social media. This year, that figure has dropped to 29%.
Due to the sheer volume of brands and increased number of social media platforms, consumers it seems are starting to be more selective when deciding who and how to follow.
Similarly consumers can be more clinical when deciding which brands to unfollow. Amongst the 18-34s who took part in our survey, the likelihood of unfollowing a company or brand on Twitter rose significantly from 2014 (from 27% to 52%). Of course brands want to be heard and social media is a great platform to make some noise but in an environment where consumers have the power to switch you off at the click of a button, engaging, relevant content is an absolute must.
Consider this, 81% of the 18-34s we sampled claim that they would be interested in contributing to a company’s NDP process through social media in the future. Consumers clearly seek more than offers and promotions – they really want to get involved with the brands they feel an affinity with. Reflecting this, 41% believe that social media allows them to get more of a feel for a company’s brand’s/personality and 25% feel more emotionally attached to a brand as a result of its social media activity.
There’s a real opportunity here for brands to connect more with customers/potential customers without having to be so focused on incentives – for example Petplan insurance maintains pinboards with tips and hints aimed at pet lovers. This approach has done an excellent job of allowing the company to relate its messaging to an overall strategic goal.
The fall in interest in interacting with brands through social media could be a glitch. When we conduct our study next year the situation might have changed. But in my opinion and from my social media accounts perspective, unless companies decide to invest properly and develop strategies which deliver engaging, targeted content, a decline in people wanting to interact with brands through social media might become the new trend.
Social Media Snapshots Report 2015 by McCallum Layton
If you’d like to further discuss the findings of the report, please contact Dale Henry, Head of Client Services at McCallum Layton.