FEATURE12 October 2015

Brand boredom?


There’s no doubt that the growth of social media has created a powerful new tool through which brands are able to communicate with consumers.


Coca Cola, the top performing brand on social media has notched up an impressive 93 million fans so it’s certainly not difficult to see the significant role this relatively new platform can have on a marketing campaign.

Opportunities to engage keep on growing. Instagram for example, a page previously only open to a select group of brands is now accessible to all. But is this necessarily a good thing?

The ‘climb to get online’ is having an adverse effect on the brand to consumer social media experience and there’s indication that platforms are moving towards saturation. A recent report from Forrester Research showed that over 80% of top global brands actively post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram, and are doing so more frequently than before. Despite the increase in content, engagement rates on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest have all declined. Talk about information overload! Is this indication of consumers getting bored of brands on social media?

At McCallum Layton we conduct an annual study into how consumers use social media to interact with brands. When we first carried out the study in 2014, 39% of respondents believed they will interact more with brands over the next 12 months via social media. This year, that figure has significantly dropped to 29%.

Due to the sheer volume of brands using social media and the increased number of platforms, consumers it seems, are starting to be more selective when deciding who and how to follow. Similarly, consumers are being more clinical when deciding which brands to unfollow. Among the 18-34s who took part in our survey, the likelihood of unfollowing a company or brand on Twitter rose from 27% in 2014 to 52%.

Of course brands want to be heard and social media is a great platform to make some noise but in an environment where consumers have the power to switch you off at the click of a button, engaging and relevant content is an absolute necessity.

Consider this, 81% of the 18-34s we sampled claim that they’d be interested in contributing to a company’s NPD process through social media in the future. Consumers clearly want more than offers and promotions – they really want to be involved with the brands they feel an affinity with. Reflecting this, 41% believe that social media allows them to get more of a feel for a company’s brand/ personality and 25% feel more emotionally attached to a brand as a result of its social media activity.

There’s a real opportunity here for brands to connect more with customers/ potential customers without having to be so focused on incentives – for example Petplan insurance maintains pinboards with tips and hints aimed at pet lovers. This approach has done an excellent job and helped the company relate its messaging to an overall strategic goal.

The fall in interest of interacting with brands could be a glitch, we will be able to determine that when we conduct the study next year. But in my opinion and from my social media accounts perspective, unless companies decide to invest properly and develop strategies that deliver engaging, targeted content, a decline in people wanting to interact with brands through social media might become the new trend.

Dale Henry is client services manager at McCallum Layton