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BizReport : Social Marketing : March 06, 2012

Research: World's top brands exhibit anti-social behavior on Facebook

The world's top brands may have a presence on social media sites such as Facebook but are they using it to converse with, or talk at, their Fans? The results of new research by consultants AT Kearney reveal over half of the world's top 50 brands do neither.

by Helen Leggatt's right, despite entering into the social space, 56% of some of the world's leading brands were distinctly anti-social during 2011. According to AT Kearney's research, reported by Emarketer, they ignored comments and questions and, in the main, communicated only promotional and informative messages.

Some brands were so arrogant as to want to control the conversation. Over three-quarters (79%) of the 48 companies with a Facebook Page limited their Walls to company posts or filtered them to show company-only posts in 2011. Furthermore, a chat-challenged 94% of the 50 top brands' Facebook Pages landed Fans on an anti-social Facebook Wall or tab that only allowed one-way communication from the brand.

Overall, the personal touch was distinctly lacking and it was straight down to business for most brands. Non-promotional messages from brands on their Facebook Walls were few and far between. In fact, 61% of the time brand Wall posts were promotional.

Social media managers may need to retune Wall Pages and become less starched and more approachable and personable. AT Kearney's research found that personal posts, those that did not promote or push a product, attracted far more interaction than promotional posts, as the chart below shows. Yet only 13% of brand Wall posts were of a personal nature in 2011.

kearney anti-social media.gif

But, do consumers really want to socialize with brands they've Liked? Not really, according to an AdAge article by Simon Dumenco, "The Utopian notion of two-way conversations being the primary purpose of social is not only generally impractical and unscalable, but just not what most people want."

Recent research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute in Australia backs this up. It found that just 1% of a brand's Facebook Fans actually engage with that brand.

So is a lack of Fan interest in interaction bad news for Facebook brand marketing? No, says Ehrenberg-Bass Institute senior research associate Karen Nelson-Field.

"People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can't do. Facebook doesn't really differ from mass media. It's great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic."

Tags: brand marketing, consumer engagement, research, social marketing, social media, social network

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