A couple of weeks ago I posted about a great empirical study by Buddy Media which outlines ways in which to optimise the engagement of Facebook wallposts. So what about Twitter? Well there’s an infographic for that too, courtesy of Hubspot.
If you’re responsible for fan engagement on Facebook, read this report by Buddy Media now! It’s a statistical study based on all the rich data Buddy Media have at their disposal, so if you need evidence or insights to help improve engagement strategies on your wall, this is a great place to start. These are some of the questions it aims to answer with some revealing results:
You may have the answers to these types of questions already having conducted your own analysis but if not, read on!
Come on fellow planners. Find out what you should be earning!
Special thanks to @hklefevre and her great team for all the effort in pulling this together.
There’s a tendency when setting up a branded Facebook page or Twitter account to view this as simply another advertising channel to broadcast streams of content about the brand, products and latest offers. After all, these social handraisers have actively ‘liked’ your page so they must be receptive to this kind of content, right? Well not entirely. Unlike us, the average customer on the street doesn’t live and breath your brand every day and rarely gives two hoots about that latest press release or product video, let alone those glamorous photos from that launch party they were never invited to.
In fact, a new study by ExactTarget and CoTweet (via webpronews) has identified the 10 most popular reasons why people ‘unlike’ brands on Facebook. The biggest contributory reason is because the company posted too frequently or the content becomes too repetitive and boring. Other highlights from the study include 81% of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feed and 41% have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter. No real surprises there but it’s a helpful reminder to all of us that we need to try harder to engage and retain social handraisers than simply broadcasting brand announcements or promotional messaging.
Fanpage attrition rates is probably quite a new concept but it’s something I predict will become increasingly important as brands invest more of their precious marketing budgets on building social databases. The good news is that it follows exactly the same principles behind any traditional CRM programme. So if you send them relevant, timely and engaging content, you can expect the brand relationship to grow. But as soon as you start focusing on what you want to say rather than what they want to hear, your social handraisers will start to lose faith in this relationship and opt out.
Before a brand commits to any social media campaign, activity or platform it’s clearly essential to understand how their target audience behaves in these environments. For example, where is your target audience predominantly online? How active are they in this space? Are they the types of people who proactively share and contribute to the conversation or do they prefer to observe by the sidelines? Are they likely to invest time and energy in UGC or would such an invitation fall on deaf ears? What digital platforms are they most comfortable frequenting online? And what are the motivations and key drivers that lie behind their social media behaviour?
Unless one can answer these types of questions, there’s a fair chance your social media efforts could all be in vein. The good news, however, is that there are a number of sources, tools and frameworks available which can help us build a fairly informed picture of our target audience’s social media profile. And the best bit, most of them are completely free! Outlined below are the ones I’m most familiar with or have found to be most useful over the years. I’ve also restricted the list to tools which can be applied across Europe markets and not just the US.
1. The Global Web Index
The Global Web Index (Lite) is a nifty little free tool recently published by Trendstream to help you view the social media profiles of different online audiences across Europe. It’s based on a quantitatitive survey and manages to overlay social media behaviour and motivations by country, age and attitudinal profiles. The full version will have a lot more meat on the bones but for a quick snapshot this Lite version can be quite an insightful tool, particularly when comparing against different markets.
2. Universal McCanns Social Media Tracker
This in my view is the holy grail when it comes to tracking trends in social media from a global perspective. It’s been going a few years now and is an essential point of reference for anyone trying to identify behavioural trends in social media. There’s a free Silverlight-based tool here which is quite fancy but for usable insights and stats you really need to read the Wave 4 report . Considering it’s free, it’s absolute gold dust!
3. Forresters Social Technographics Tool
Forrester’s social technographics tool has been around for a while but is still a great way to map your target audience’s propensity to participate in social media. With this tool you can get a decent idea whether your audience over indexes for certain types of behaviour. So for example, if they over index as ‘creators’ there’s a fair chance they’d be receptive to getting involved in a crowdsourcing or UGC project. Conversely, if they’re predominently spectators and inactives, don’t even go there.
Unfortunately some European markets are not covered for some age profiles which I assume is because they don’t hold enough survey data.
4. Altimeter’s Engagement Pyramid
This isn’t a data analytical tool as far as I believe but rather a strategic framework to help map the different ways in which consumers engage in social media. I’ve reported on this before when it first came out as I liked its simplicity. Even though there’s no data to substantiate this, it’s good common sense and highlights the importance of socialgraphics to help inform social media strategies rather than simply relying on traditional demographic and psychographic profiles.
5. TMW’s Motivational Drivers to Social Media Participation
Understanding ‘how’ your target audience participates in social media is important but only one piece of the jigsaw. It’s also important to ask yourself ‘why’. At TMW, we conducted some research in conjunction with research agency ICM to help identify the motivations behind social media participation. We concluded there are 6 key motivational drivers for participating in this space.
The interesting thing is that these motivations change according to different demographics. You can read some of insightful results from this study in a previous post here.
6. TGI Net Europa
Launched in September 2008, with new data released twice a year, TGI Net Europa combines the full TGI Europa database with extensive detailed information on internet behaviour and attitudes. This isn’t a free tool unfortunately so you may have to ask your media agency nicely if you can use it!
7. Social Media Statistics Compendium by econsultancy
The Social Media Statistics Compendium is one of the reports bundled with the eConsulancy’s Internet Statistics Compendium. It costs £250 on its own but is jam packed with useful stats on social media from a variety of third party sources.
If you want to understand the profile of Facebook users within your market and compare this to your target audience profile, it’s worth visiting Check facebook. It’s free too.
9. Nielson’s Global Faces & Networked Places Report – March 2009
Finally, Nielson’s Global Faces and Network Places report looks at the social media market as a whole but does have a useful section on how the audience is changing and starting to mature.
So there you have it – a mix of tools and approaches to help you build up a social media profile of your target audience. It’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination so if you know any more I may have missed feel free to add them below.
I thought this was worth sharing – Gartner published last month their IT predictions for the next few years. Of particular note are their mobile phone /user devices predictions at the end of the report (section 10).
In a nutshell, they anticipate that in the next 3 years mobile will surpass the PC as the most common web access device worldwide. They’re not saying that mobiles will replace PCs as the primary way to browse the web, but rather the sheer penetration of smartphones and browser-enabled enhanced mobile devices by 2013 will ultimately mean that more people will be accessing the web on their mobiles than on PC.
When I shared this report with Douglas McDonald, the Head of Mobile at TMW he suggested we should use some caution using global numbers as much of that growth is in emerging economies where mobile is the only option for connectivity. Fixed line will be far more important in the short term in US, Western Europe. That said, it’s very clear that brands need to seriously consider developing a mobile website strategy if they haven’t done so already.
The full report can be accessed here or you can review the relevant extract below:
GARTNER EXTRACT: KEY REPORT FINDINGS
Tom Smith from Trendstream gave this presentation to the IAB Europe Council recently which outlines key research findings on social media participation and behaviour across Europe (with particular emphasis on Russia). He also outlines the impact this has on consumer buying behaviour and how social strategies will become ever more important in the digital age.
Tom Smith specialises in social media research and seems to be presenting quite a few interesting findings at the moment. I posted about one of his other reports here which is also worth a look if you get time.