Companies’ Approach to Advertising on Social Media

Since the arrival of social media platforms, companies have tried to figure out how to best use them to get their messages to consumers, often with mixed results. Some brands have embraced the notion that social platforms like Twitter allow constant interaction, for better or worse, with their customers.

Others have turned away from some strains of social media, as General Motors did last spring when it stopped advertising on Facebook while raising questions about the return on its investment. The move had a ripple effect in the advertising world, with many brands questioning whether the costs of being on social media were worth it.

A new report issued Tuesday by Nielsen and Vizu, a research company owned by Nielsen, shows that brands think they might be turning a corner, specifically when it comes to paying for their use of social media.The report examined the opinions about social media marketing among more than 500 digital media professionals — including brand marketers, media agencies and advertisers — from September to October 2012.

The study found that that

  • 89% of advertisers continued to use free social media products. Nielsen did not release the names of specific social media platforms mentioned by the respondents, but they are likely to include Facebook and Pinterest, as well as Twitter.
  • 75% of the companies surveyed said they were also spending more for social media content, which could include paying bloggers to write posts about a product or using third-party technology to push videos on to the Web in the hope that they become viral.
  • 70% of the advertisers surveyed said they dedicated up to 10 percent of their budget to paid social media advertising, while 13 percent dedicated more than 21 percent of their budget. Those numbers are expected to increase in 2013.

The results come as companies like Twitter and Facebook are making more diverse advertising options available to brands. Last year, Twitter announced a number of advertising and media initiatives, including a survey product that enables marketers to ask Twitter users a handful of multiple-choice questions. Facebook began testing a new advertising mechanism using a technology called real-time bidding, which allows advertisers to place bids on ad space at specific times.

“Advertisers are starting to look at social media as an integrated part of their advertising strategy,” said Jeff Smith, the senior vice president of product leadership for advertising effectiveness at Nielsen.

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Social Media Helps Doctors Improve Care And Stay Current

Many doctors turn to social media to to stay on top of the information they need to know to provide quality care.

A recent study (Sept. 24) published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that

  • 85% of oncologists and primary care physicians use social media at least once a week or once a day to scan or explore health information.
  • 60% said social media improves the care they deliver.
  • 25% of doctors use social media daily to scan or explore new medical information.
  • 24.1% said they use social media daily to scan or explore new medical information
  • 14.2% contribute information daily
  • 61% scanned and explored and 46% contributed information weekly
  • 58% perceive social media to be beneficial and a good way to get current, high-quality information

Unlike other studies on physician use of social media that tend to lump professional and personal use together, lead author Brian McGowan, PhD, an education technology consultant, and fellow researchers narrowed the focus to how social media can be used for professional development and lifelong learning.

Many doctors prefer closed communities to open social media platforms but according to Bryan Vartabedian, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, physicians who limit themselves to closed networks are missing some of social media’s benefits.

“Democratizing media has completely opened my eyes to the experience of the patient,” said Dr. Vartabedian, a co-author of the study. He said his social media connections with patient advocacy groups have given him “a huge appreciation for how they think.”

McGowan said the attention to the dangers of social media and the widespread circulation of a few horror stories have prevented many from embracing it.

  • 20% of physicians think using social media sites is a bad idea
  • 30% think it’s great
  • 50% are undecided and could move toward social media if more studies highlight its positive side

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Most top 50 Brands Not Social

Old habits die hard:  most top 50 brands not social

The more things change, the more they stay the same, 15 years ago, brands had static websites and a unique way to interact with their followers through email or phone, what did they do?  They remove phone numbers, addresses and email from their websites.

Fast forward 15 years, in the social media era, most brands have not changed.  reminiscent of their old ways, they block followers from initiating conversations and/or only allow them to respond to posts.

In short, brands are still afraid or at best awkward when it comes to one on one communication.  They are still stuck in their old broadcasting ways, using social media as a one way communication tool.

According to an A T Kearney study, out of Interbrand’s Top 50 Global Brands on Facebook,

  • 27 of them won’t even reply directly to their customers
  • 20 of the 50 companies have a 4:1 company to customer ratio of posts on their Facebook pages.
  • 71% of the company posts were promotional
  • Only 5% of all posts actually sought to create real conversation with their customers
    Companies as consumer-facing as Disney, McDonald’s, and Sony only allow posts that were created by the companies themselves
  • Only one of the Interbrand Top 50 routed fans to an unfiltered Facebook wall, while the other 44 initially choose to show consumers and fans a filtered selection of company posts only.
  • Of the more socially engaged companies, 25 companies in our study had consumer-to-company post ratios in the 3:1 range—three consumer posts for every one company post. These companies include Coca-Cola, BMW, eBay, H&M, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Heinz, ZARA, NESCAFÉ, Nintendo, Amazon.com, Nokia, Honda, Gillette, Philips, HP, Samsung and L’Oréal Paris. The remaining 20, however, demonstrated nearly a 1:4 ratio between consumer and company commentary.
  • Only 5 percent of company-to-consumer posts engaged consumers in discussions, while 71 percent of posts were promotional

Most traditional marketers are still not comfortable engaging consumers one on one and default to their traditional ways.  they are afraid to lose control of their message and brand and do not understand the dynamics of social media and as a result, budgets may not be available to hire dedicated social media staff or dedicate employees to interact with consumers.

Most brands consider social media to be exclusively a marketing tool and lose sight of the value social media conversations bring to other departments like customer service, R&D, quality, HR to mention only a few.  As such, social media can considerably cut customer service costs, development time, correct product or service defects faster, attract valuable talent in a more cost effective way and fail to include these savings and/or revenue generation in the overall ROI

Can you teach an old dog new tricks, sometimes, but past behaviors and trends are not exactly encouraging most top 50 brands succeed at generating “likes” and followers but fail at social engagement and miss out on the real value of social media.

Social Media Customer Service is a Failure- Frank Eliason

62fd77161c7b0ad8976f16.L._V136019344_SX200_My view is that social media customer service is a complete failure due to a number of factors. For example you have companies out there that are focusing on people with the high Klout score. I don’t think that works so well.  Look at that concept through the lens of some of the famous instances over the years. I worked for a cable company and at one point there was a video of a technician sleeping.  The person who put that video up had posted two videos, ever. Let’s face it, it was just good content. It was just something we enjoyed watching — so we watched it over and over again. I am not a fan of influencer-based marketing, or providing priority service based on someone’s Klout score.

I hear this all the time: “we want to be where our customers are and our customers want social service.” I say consumers don’t want social service, they just want it right the first time, and if it’s not right they’re looking form someone to fix the experience. What’s going on is these companies are doing social servicing because they think their customers want to be serviced that way but, they’re not taking this customer feedback and fixing what is wrong; they’re not using this feedback to bring about true change!

Think about this: everything we do sends a message to people.  We need to remember that.

We focus on call centers and we look at things like “call handle time.”  That sends a great message to your employees: “get the customer off the phone as fast as possible”; they’re measuring the speed at which the call center rep can end a call, not solve a problem.  This sends a message to the customer because, guess what? – they can tell when they’re being rushed off the phone. And on the PR side, for example, what are they listening for? They’re listening for that next PR crisis. But listening is much broader than one little silo. It is taking this information and putting it in the hands of the product people, the sales people, the C-suite, etc.  All people should have access to and understand this information because it can drive product and support changes, not just PR wins.

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Social Media Influencial in Food Decision

According to a new survey by eMarketer, social media influences purchasing decision when it comes to food:  36% bought a new brand after seeing a close friend’s recommendation, 30% after not so close friend recommended it, 20% after they saw products highly rated by users in their network and 17% after they read highly rated reviews from people they do not know

Leading Sources that Influence US Internet Users

In addition, the survey shows that when it comes to food, users are primarily sharing two thing: photos and recipes.

A May Blogher survey shows that recipes are one of the most sought-after pieces of food content online with 89% of internet users interested in food content going online for recipes.

Ina another survey, Allrecipes.com found that 65% of females who regularly used recipe sites bought branded ingredients called for in the recipes at least sometimes. 21% said they “usually” did this.

In yet another May survey, Compete found that food was by far the leading topic category for interactions on Pinterest leading to conversion.  25% overall had bought a product after discovering it on Pinterest, and surprisingly, considering Pinterest’s reputation as a female stronghold, 37% of male users were spurred to buy, compared to just 17% of female users.

US Female Bloggers* vs. Internet Users Who Go Online for Select Food-Related Content, May 2012

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Visual outperforms text when it comes to social media engagement

According to a new study from M Booth and  Simply Measured, visual content is not only taking over the digital and social media landscape, it’s also outperforming all other mediums when it comes to engagement!

  1. Videos are shared 12X more than links and text posts combined on Facebook
  2. Photos are liked 2X more than text posts on Facebook
  3. 48% of all Tumblr posts are photos.
  4. On YouTube, 100 million users are liking, sharing or commenting on videos every week.
  5. Pinterest refers more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined
Graphics and videos drive engagement in social media

Reviews Are Key To Build Consumer Trust

Gaining consumer trust is an important issue for marketers seeking to ensure that they’re not scaring prospective customers away. In fact, a March to June survey of US adults conducted by About.com found that 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them or other information sources. Moreover, the study found that there were 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency.

In a social media context, customers wanted to see that brands had a significant number of positive reviews, and that they didn’t go out of their way to hide the negative ones. The survey found that 41% of respondents said the ability to see reviews on social networks added to their feeling of trust in a brand. Reviews played a bigger role in cultivating trust than seeing that friends had “liked” or recommended a brand, or that the brand had accumulated a large tally of “likes.”

Video was found to improve trust the most when it served as a complement to other types of content. This ties back in to consumers’ hunger for useful information. Brands can build trust with potential customers by demonstrating expertise through quality owned content that is also devoid of a hard sales message.