Marketers are constantly looking for the silver bullet, the holy grail or the big kahuna, if you will, that can truly define just how much interaction people are actually having with their brands online.
What are people looking for? Are they are truly interacting or are they just serial “Likers”? This is a question that will nag everyone in the marketing game for as long as this game is being played because in the end the only way to gauge a person’s engagement is to measure their sentiment and that’s going to always be elusive.
In efforts to define this interaction we turn to studies like the one just completed by the Cone Media and brought to our attention by the Center for Media Research. The chart below comes from the report called “2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study”. I have added to it in case you didn’t notice.
My question is the definition of people being “Somewhat Satisfied” about their online interaction with a brand. Why? Mainly because when anyone is somewhat satisfied with something it implies that they are also either somewhat dissatisfied or something else. The chart above would have us believe that only 5% are somewhat dissatisfied with this whole online brand interaction thing.
Confusing? I think so because what this is really saying to me that with only 14% being very satisfied that leaves everyone else falling into or dangerously near the category of being “Indifferent” which is a marketers worst nightmare. Maybe that’s why researchers don’t use the term because it’s actually telling the truth.
All I am doing, as I normally do, is looking at research and trying to call it like it is. Let’s face it. Many people follow or like brands because of a particular offer they can get at a particular time. Once that hook passes so does the interest in the brand online until something else happens to really catch their attention. What percentage of people are hanging on the social media moves of many brands at all? It’s a product. It’s a service. Sure we lead pretty hollow lives but are we that shallow that we depend on brands for genuine interaction?
I realize I am playing devil’s advocate here but with the amount of research I look at I can’t help but feel that we are dancing around the reality in many cases. That reality being that while we want people to truly engage with our brand online it’s not likely that the masses will truly be engaged to the level marketers desire. That all out dedication to the brand and their zealot like following is the goal but it’s rare. In fact, in the people that actually respond that way it might be unhealthy since they tie so much of their persona into a brand.
As a for instance, I am a Coca Cola bigot. I have said it here before. I won’t drink a Pepsi product if I can help it. I admit this is over the top and a little bizarre but it’s true. Now, here’s the rub. I don’t give a rip about Coca Cola online. Why? Because it doesn’t define me and unless I can save some money or get a customer service question answered I don’t have the time to care or pay attention. But guess what? I am a fan of the Coca Cola Facebook page (which has a very interesting history of its own that you may want to look into). I don’t even know if there are updates because I don’t look for them. I don’t go there and when I do the inane drivel that is being passed off as ‘interaction’ makes me happy that I stay away.
So is social media truly engaging people or is it just pleasing a present need or passing fancy that doesn’t translate into loyalty or engagement beyond the one instance? Is somewhat satisfied the same as being indifferent but being said in a way to give an online marketer hope?
I don’t know. I’m thinking out loud here. If you got this far and want to chime in that would be pretty cool. So what’s your take?