It’s hard to imagine that there are people who use social media, without having a relationship with brands. Hard as it may seem, given the endless hype, social media is mostly about friends and not about brands.
But the numbers are startling.
- 3 in 5 Facebook users have not friended or liked a brand
- 78% of those who like brands, friend fewer than 10 brand pages
- Only 1% engage with brand pages
- Just 4% prefer to received brand promotions on Facebook
- 60% are annoyed by brand communication on Facebook
- 39% don’t think their “like” is an opt-in for marketing messages
- 1/3 of those who friend brands subsequently drop the friendship and the brand
Jay Baer captured this idea when he wrote, “It’s not as if we signed up for social media sites so we could hang out with software companies and hotel chains and T-shirt vendors and ham merchants. We signed up to connect with each other, not with commerce.” According to Nielsen, consumers worldwide trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends above all other sources.
Brands need to take this to heart when framing their social media posting strategies. Brands are like a friend-of-a-friend -- not really invited but tolerated -- at a party where everybody already knows each other. The bottom line is, in Baer’s words, “If your company doesn’t have a social media editorial program that emphasizes spontaneous, personal, human, light-hearted, interesting, funny, timely and photo-driven content, you are swimming against a powerful tide of customer desire.”