We’re on the verge of 2010. A decade ago the World Wide Web was starting to catch on within our society and soon after brand marketers claimed they “just needed a website”. The rules of Web 1.0 boasted by self-proclaimed experts were straight forward and simple – “build it and they will come”. Well, for those of us who were rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty with global content management systems and complex e-commerce integrations, that mantra quickly proved to be false. Websites needed dynamic content and specific calls to action. They also required intuitive search to drive traffic and smart interactive design and editorial programming to attract users and keep them engaged on sites.
Now ten years later, social media is on a similar rise, with most brands “just needing a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter Account”, believing their fans “will just come”. But instead of a single digital domain that brands absolutely control, the Web has evolved into a multi-dimensional conversation with scores of voices and influence that brands no longer dictate. The digital world is now run by everyday individuals, many of whom not only have access to, but actually have a direct hand in creating the innovative tools and rich content that are shaping the Integrated Social Web. Hmmm…I’m starting to hear those familiar Twilight Zone sounds, are you?
Social media is the next frontier brands are aspiring to master and master it they should. We are already starting to see that good social media habits matter in 21st century marketing along several areas:
- Customer Satisfaction - consumers are increasingly using social channels such as Blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to express their satisfaction levels with specific brands and seek problem resolution. (Airlines in particular are learning this; some are excelling and others are learning lessons the hard way)
- Cost Savings - consumers freely share tips, best practices and other product and service how-tos with one another, helping to reduce strain on customer call centers as well as resources needed to create and maintain self-help content
- Direct Sales - consumers are proactively seeking out new channels within social to research, shop and purchase discounted goods and services. (Dell has demonstrated the power of social shopping with sales through its Dell Direct Twitter Account)
- Revenue Generation - unique social campaigns that become viral are sparking branded searches that help drive users to a brand's social as well as Web sales channels
- Brand Love - as social media increasingly becomes part of the mainstream, more consumers are relying on a brand's participation within social media to serve as a benchmark for its personal credibility and immediate relevancy (see my previous post, JCrew, Whoops: Your Personal Shopper is Socially MIA)
this summer, I became increasingly curious about how large brands are utilizing the Social Web
and the audiences they attract through their key channels. Were there thriving communities or desolate
graveyards in the F500 social landscape?
Were F500 brands and their agencies learning anything, or just repeating
the same patterns from Web 1.0? To
answer these and hundreds of other questions, I began an independent study on
the Social Media Habits of the Fortune 500.
My research examines eight social media habit dimensions, within eight
key social media channels, across sixteen industry segments. Some interesting highlights so far on the
Over 6 million people are engaging F500 brands in key social media channels
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the most prevalent channels amongst F500 brands
YouTube, iPhone applications and Podcasts are the most heavily used to promote product usage and sales
- Over one third of F500 key social media channels have been inactive for over six months
- Facebook Fan Pages drive 77% of the Fortune 500 audience within their key social media channels
- Photos and blogs are primary channel sources for brand mentions for 59% of the F500
- Facebook Groups are the largest source of negative branding for F500 brands
- Only 18% of the F500 are integrating their key social media channels
You can view more of my initial summary observations via my SlideShare Presentation. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing additional snippets of the benchmark data, along with my and industry peer’s analyses on the implications for brands on their road to social. Stay tuned for upcoming segments on specific industries, channels and habit best practices – as always, your comments and questions are welcome. For my readers, a little poll to kick off the discussion – which industry, do you expect to have the “best” social media habits and why? Please tag your posts/tweets with #getsocial.