Digital Insights

Swag Tops ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ in Brand Social Engagement Study


Published: January 5, 2012

Our Digital EYE Media social mavens have been saying this all year, so it’s nice to have our insights confirmed.

Ok, “likes” and “follows” are all well and good for brand engagement on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. But swag-conscious consumers also have high expectations that social brands will offer unique experiences, savings, promotions and even games and gifts as part of their social engagement.

At least that’s the (not so surprising…to us) finding of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s new “Variance in the Social Brand Experience” study. To read the complete report, click here.

The CMO Council is a 6,000-member, Palo Alto-based organization of senior corporate marketing execs and brand decision-makers networked across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council reports that its members control more than $300 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide.

For the survey, the CMO Council research targeting 120-plus marketers and 1,300-plus consumers was conducted from September to November 2011 in partnership with Lithium Technologies, a brand marketing firm based in Emeryville, Calif.

According to the survey, marketers are pouring resources into social media, but are struggling to get serious mileage out of their campaigns. The survey found that 17 percent of participating marketers say they’ve successfully integrated social media into their marketing mix, while 20 percent say their campaigns lack connectivity. Consumers say they expect deals, customer support and the ability to connect with the company when they connect with a brand online.

“…Consumers say they expect deals, customer support and the ability to connect with the company when they connect with a brand online.”

The online study reveals that while 52 percent of the marketers surveyed say their brands have enjoyed greater influence thanks to their presence in social networks, only 17 percent said that social media is fully meshed, aligned and integrated into their companies’ overall marketing mix.

The study also reveals that consumers value their social brand engagements and are increasingly turning to peer communities for reviews, conversations, shopping selections, product assistance and lifestyle advice.

Furthermore, brands that provide exclusive savings, entertainment and open engagements will be well-received and appreciated by consumers.

According to the consumers surveyed, there is an expectation that a brand “follow,” “like,” “posting” or preference in social media will enable the member to:

• Be eligible for exclusive offers (67 percent)
• Have the opportunity to interact with other customers who share a consumer’s own experiences (60 percent)
• Gain access to games and contests (65 percent)

Yet marketers believe that social engagement is more of a byproduct of quality content and are less concerned with incentivizing loyalty among their followers.
According to marketers surveyed, customers like or engage because they:

• Want to be heard (41 percent)
• Are looking for news or information about products (40 percent)

Most notably, only 33 percent believe their fans are looking for incentives or rewards, and only 27 percent believe customers are seeking special savings or experiences exclusive for followers.

“The social brand explosion has created a wave of loyalty among social consumers who are eager to show their support and share their experiences with others online, but this loyalty comes at a cost —- from savings to games —- that consumers see as their social currency,” said Liz Miller, Vice President of Marketing Programs for the CMO Council. “Social can garner significant influence and pull for marketers who can bridge this gap in expectation and execution.”

Contact Digital Eye Media for information on how to Create and Manage your Social Media Marketing Campaigns: P: (714) 556-0576;