January 10, 2012

4 Ways to Engage "Super Socials" About one-third of Americans with a social media profile have fully integrated social media (mostly Facebook) and smart phones into their daily lives. These 46 million people, manage their lives minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour using their phones. Two-thirds have used their phone to update their social media status which probably places them among the 300 million who check their Facebook pages using mobile devices several times each day. Jay Baer, analyzing a new study from Edison Research and Arbitron titled Social Habits II, calls them “Super Socials.” Some of the key survey findings were: Social networks are mainstream tools for personal communications Super Socials are more likely to be young and female Mobile access drives increased frequency of social network use Frequent users create more content -- more viral opportunities Frequent users are more likely to follow brands Frequent users consume more on-demand content Frequent users watch more video TV on a digital device Almost 25% said Facebook most influences their buying decisions This growing segment is the leading target for integrated marketing campaigns. Forty-three percent of social media activists follow brands in social media; 8 in 10 do so on Facebook. Their psycho-demographics inform the personas that marketers use to build digital assets and target digital media. Mom’s make up a healthy sub-segment of “Super Socials.” Yet when surveyed, 72 percent said that no social network influenced their purchase of products or services. A data point like this makes you wonder. The obvious explanation is that people say all kinds of stuff on surveys so we can easily dismiss internal contradictions as “survey error”. On the other hand the survey might be revealing a type of cognitive dissonance emerging from the social media experience that is being documented by a growing body of data, specifically the recent CMO Council study that says consumers and brands are coming at social media from different perspectives, with different expectations and agendas that might be seriously out of synch. People embraced Facebook and other networks because they created fast, easy and free ways to keep up with and communicate with friends and family. Social media is a personal CRM tool that adds value and fun. Plus it’s the thing to do, as evidenced by huge adoption among every demographic segment. Brands are second cousins. Admitted late to the party, brands are groping for credible ways to enter and participate in the on-going conversation. Typical brand interactions on Facebook happen once. The average fan visits the brand page once, usually to sign up for offers or deals or to play a game or participate in a promotion. A “Like” is usually the cost of participation not necessarily a sign of brand awareness, affection or preference. Most of the action on brand pages takes place on apps. These visits are not organic repeat visits. Instead media spending drives app use and promotional participation, often Facebook ads and external drivers like banners, video, search, text ads and e-mail. The fact that only a small percentage of fans actively visit brand pages without prompting suggests that the relationship with brands is secondary to relationships with real friends and based on a WIIFM calculation rather than as an expression of true loyalty or love. The implication is that super social consumers frequently participating in the Facebook experience will play along or take goodies from brands but that’s not the reason they visit, post, comment or like frequently. No brand wants to feel, much less be, an interloper on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube or elsewhere. It’s humbling to realize that the frequency and intensity of brand relationships aren’t what we thought they were or should be. But it also gives us clear direction on how to better serve our customers and ourselves in crafting social network marketing programs moving forward. Consider these four social media tactics. Focus on what people do. Interact and support the things that Super Socials (and everybody else) do frequently in social media. Think visually and think through a life on the go. Identify inflection points where your brand has a distinctive positioning or point of view or can uniquely add value. Comment on the things fans care about. Share frequently. Become more like a real friend; helping, advising, celebrating and sharing. Enable or enhance functionality. Find ways to add to the social network experience by making it easier to post or share pictures, comment or post on popular subjects or find other people with similar interests. Conceive promotions that either save consumers’ time or...
Did Google Goof? Google’s decision to weight its +1 button and display Google+ results has created a very interesting contretemps. On one hand, Google is puting its thumb on the scale they invented. On the other hand they are monetizing their unique IP and stitching together their own technology, ostensibly to serve us better. Google presents and spins these changes as a consumer benefit. Google transforms “into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships,” they claim. The three new features are: personal results, profiles in search and people and pages. The so-called benefit is that your Google search results will be even more personalized, thanks to information shared on Google+. Predictably Microsoft is crying foul, arguing that Google unfairly weights its own stuff above everyone else’s and in so doing skews the real value of search engine results. They have begun to aggressively use this move to switch pitch users and advertisers. Google streaked to success by offering a different way to categorize and rank search engine results based on inferred popularity and usefulness. They’ve used this mantra to cloak every subsequent move. At the same time, they’ve taught us all how to search. Google is both a verb and an deeply embedded part of our online behavior and muscle memory, so to speak. The likelihood of BING, newly ascendant over Yahoo, creating enough negative buzz over a sustained time period to prompt mass defections is low. Though Google’s own behavior may help Microsoft’s cause depending on the extent to which they favor themselves in SERPs and the reach, depth or intensity of the perception that Google has conned all of us for the last decade. It’s a very interesting turn of events, though it’s hard to predict how things will shake out. But its gonna be fun to watch.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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