Posted December 7, 2010 7:01 pm by with 6 comments

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Empathica, Inc wanted to know more about how consumers were using social media in regard to brands so they sat down and interviewed 15,000 people from both the US and Canada. Okay, they didn’t actually sit down with all those people, but they asked the questions, the people answered and they published a nifty new report called The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel – Q2 2010, Issue 4.

I can’t say that their findings were very surprising but empirical validation is always nice, don’t you think? So here are the two key points:

When it comes to social media, six in ten consumers said they followed at least one brand. 40% of those people said they did it for coupons and promotions while the 30% said they were simply looking for “additional information.”  I’m bad at math, remember, but that does seem to leave a few people unaccounted for. Maybe they’re following brands for nefarious reasons and didn’t want to say.

The takeaway here is that there’s really no avoiding the “deal” monster. If you want people to follow and friend you, you’re going to have to throw them a bone now and then. 10% off an order, free shipping, free samples, buy 1 get 1 – but you should mix it up. Get creative. 10% off for everyone who posts a photo of themselves wearing a fake mustache. Buy a sweater for yourself, get a sweater for your pet. I think we worry a lot about hitting the lowest common denominator, but the truth is, though less people will post a photo of themselves, those that do will share that photo and you get more eyeballs on your brand. Listen, 10 people who really like your brand and will buy from you, is better than 100 who will abandon you when the deal is done.

One in Three Consumers Recently Followed-Through with a Recommendation Made Via Social Media

That’s the other big takeaway from this report. More and more people are using social media to help them decide on what to buy, what movie to see and where to go for lunch. The pros say it’s a trust thing. Personally, I think it’s a lazy thing.  For example, I’m going to order takeout for dinner tonight. I hate picking a place, so if I see that my friend had Pick-up Stix for lunch, it’s likely I’ll think Pick-Up Stix. If I go to their Facebook and find a coupon, then I’m sold. Same goes for new music. I don’t seek out new artists, but if my friend links to a song on Twitter, I might click it and enjoy it. I clicked, not because I think my friend’s taste in music is great, but because its human nature to want to please others and following my friend’s advice will please them. Yes, I checked out that tune and you were right, it’s terrific!

On a funny side-note, the study found that 25% of Americans made a recommendation on social media but only 17% of Canadians did the same. They suspect this is because American’s are almost twice as likely to follow ten or more brands compared to our neighbors from the north even though both countries favor Facebook by roughly the same percent (Canadian – 64%  and American – 67%). What do you suppose that is all aboot, eh?

So there you have it, more proof that you need to include deals and encourage recommendations on all of your favorite social media networks.

Want to learn more? Visit and they’ll hook you up.

  • Very interesting article. I will have to consider this in my upcoming promotions. Thanks for the tips!

  • It is really very surprising to know that people really follow Social Media network to follow a brand. we are also in online trade for last few months and observed that people are coming to us through online classified ads sites and social networking sites but didn’t realize that we could get more satisfied clients form most of social networking sites with a bit more effort and with offering some special that they will get fine for themselves or for there loved once. Really a worthy post you have delivered.

    – Jaipur Online Store

  • I must admit I follow Starbucks, bit of a coffee freak. I have found with social media that your free offers, whether Ebook/report, video or audio interview works very well. If you try to market you will fall flat on your face. As you pointed out, if you are looking to go to the movies or eat out, then a friends recommendation will go a long way.

  • In today’s online world, most of the people know the basic level of social media, to the point like creating an account, posting or sharing an update, send a tweet etc.. But many of them really don’t understand the actual power of using social media and this where they all fail! Inspite of hundreds of useful suggestions out there on internet, experts suggestions, they do the same way as how they do it earlier(in vain).

    So people/businesses when choosing social media as their means to spread your market, you should start with the basic elements and explore the ultimate benefits! All that you need is proper goal, research, applying knowledge and Patience to do all these. 🙂

  • It’s amazing how much social media and social “pressure” comes into play when people shop. Very good article and great sources.

  • I think you will find that the consumers who are always looking for a deal will already be following a brand. The rest probably couldn’t be bothered. More consumers are becoming more turned off by advertising tactics and social media has accelerated this. Personally I find annoying to be spammed by the likes of group-on or other product companies who want to continuously offer me discounts. Social Media for many of us is about knowledge and sharing information not another medium for mass marketing.