Social media marketing fails unveiled to a resounding silence

| December 8, 2011

Are you into social media marketing?

If so, have you read TNS’s Digital Life report yet?

Don’t be surprised if you haven’t. It came out a couple of weeks ago, only to be met by a stony silence from the SMM community. How come? Probably because it’s full of findings that social media marketers don’t want to hear.

In a nutshell it’s the biggest empirical study of consumer digital behaviour so far, involving 72,000 people over 60 countries. That’s what I call a relevant statistical sample.

Here are three of the research’s key social media marketing findings

  • The majority of consumers don’t want to engage with brands via social media
  • In the UK, 61% of us say we don’t see social media as a place we want to interact with brands
  • Only 1 in 4 consumers in developed markets see social networks as a good place to buy products

And here’s a quote from TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggat:

“Many brands have recognised the vast potential audiences available to them on social networks; however they are failing to understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and brand presence needs to be proportionate and justified”.

As Marketing Week’s columnist and Associate Marketing Professor Mark Ritson says:

“Social media literally means the communication channels that exist between people. Not between brands.” He adds, “As more brands attempt to grab attention and start social media conversations with disinterested consumers, more of them will switch off.”

The overall message from the TNS Digital Life report is this. Social media is a genuine world-changing development. But marketers who spent all their money and energy on it, using it as their main communications channel, are in for a “disappointing denoument”.

How many marketers have actually donned their consumer hat and realised social media marketing is fatally flawed from a human perspective? Hardly any. If they had, they’d realise how few of us actually enjoy having our social spaces clogged up by brands trying to sell us stuff.

Sensible advice? Test SMM carefully to see if you can turn a profit. But don’t, whatever you do, chuck all your marketing budget eggs in the social media marketing basket. You’ll probably end up being burned. Media variety, as always, is the spice of successful marketing life.

Want to know more about TNS on social media marketing?

Here’s a link to the TNS Digital Life report for 2011.

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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