By Cathy Looze
First, let me say, I liked the ending of How I Met Your Mother. I was not among those vocal fans who felt betrayed by the creators. Nor do I think the creators of that or any series “owe” it to the fans to have stories go the way they want. All fans are owed is a solid storyline that is well-written, engaging and supported by good acting. Imagine if fans dictated everything ever written or products that are produced. Would Ingrid Bergman have gotten on that plane, leaving Humphrey Bogart on the tarmac? Would Rhett have said “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” to Scarlett? Would disposable diapers have attained market share if the environmentalists had their say when Pampers was introduced? There’s a point, I promise.
As social media has evolved, it’s given people a chance to express themselves while engaging with the brand, and in doing so, they expect the brand to address their concerns. And many brands do take notice. Some go to the extreme, like the HIMYM creators who put together an alternate ending to their finale to address their fans’ complaints, but many embrace it as a way to gauge what their buyers are thinking. Social Media Marketing research reports that 58.4% of companies use Twitter to monitor their brand. But the question is: Does a company or brand know that these comments/complaints reflect the majority of what their customers think?
One issue with Social Media is that despite the constant references to it in the media, a relatively small percentage of the population uses it on a daily basis. Numbers can vary depending upon which research company is quoted, but as the Pew Research Group is a non-partisan entity, let’s use their numbers. According to their 2013 Social Media Update published in December 2013, Facebook is the undisputed leader, used by about 71% of online adults with 63% accessing it daily. 18% of Americans have a Twitter account with 46% of those accessing it daily. Pinterest, Instagram have levels similar to that of Twitter. So, yes, companies that talk to these people on social media sites reach an audience that is engaged, expressive and influential, but they aren’t talking to those who don’t use these outlets. In other words, on social media, you’re talking to people who already know you – but those outlets don’t invite others to get to know you.
Told you I’d get to the point – which is that any marketing plan that uses only Social Media is excluding those that aren’t on Facebook or use Twitter. A truly integrated plan must not only talk to your core customer, but encourage and invite others to try your product, service, TV show, in order to continue to grow and succeed. Look at the big guys and you’ll see they already know that – McDonald’s, Coca Cola, The Gap, Wayfair.com – all use traditional media in addition to Social Media, to help move their brands forward.
So, when you come to us saying you want to put all your marketing efforts into Social Media, don’t be surprised if we respond with, “that’s a good idea, but….”