I received a copy of the ‘Social network marketing, engagement marketing and brands‘ report by Tom Chapman yesterday.
You can request your own copy here (I don’t think it will cost you any money. Feel free to say I sent you). If you’re interested in social networking platforms can do for your brand or business, you might get something out of it. Although the sample size for this report is not huge, it’s an attempt to undertake some formal research into the use of social networking sites by brands, and it does a pretty good job. The report also includes case studies from Innocent drinks and BBC Radio 1 and the Chris Moyles Show, among others.
I don’t think it’s just relevant for marketing either, though that’s clearly an important focus of the study.
At 47 pages, it’s a bit too long for my tastes. Hence, I’ve pulled out some of the highlights. These may be obvious to you (they certainly make me nod pretty frantically) but it’s useful evidence.
From section 2.1:
“67% of Facebook respondents and 65% of MySpace respondents who answered 5 (slightly stronger) and 6 (much stronger) on the Likert scale indicated that they would feel more affinity and loyalty toward a brand they are a friend or fan of, if that brand listened to their opinions and responded to communications.”
From section 4.1 Are Facebook and MySpace effective platforms for social network marketing?:
“…the consumer conversation between brands and social network users should be controlled by the users themselves. This idea is backed up by the response to the Facebook and MySpace surveys, whereby the respondents strongly indicated that their loyalty to a brand on a social network site would be lost rapidly if the brand itself controlled the conversation…”
From section 5.6 User comments and suggestions offer real value:
“Brands should place significant importance on the value of comments made by users after they have become a friend or fan, and their ability to influence others as brand advocates. This really is the focus of a brands attention, not just the number of friends or fans they have. “
This really important point is also emphasised in section 5.3: Brands and marketers must listen to their friends/fans.
Although the BBC were interviewed for the report, I can’t take any credit; I actually didn’t have any involvement with it at all (Sam Bailey, from Radio 1, was the person interviewed). I’m just a reader and sharer, and I’d be interested to hear what you think about it.