We’ve all been to the party where someone is firmly ensconced in a corner or at the bar telling tales about their favorite subject: themselves. Sometimes, especially if we’ve never heard them before, these stories can be funny and interesting. I don’t know how you feel but I always get a little weary of them after a while. If you hang around long enough, inevitably the person senses a fresh audience and repeats the same old tales, always with themselves in a leading role. Then again, given the ages of some of my friends (and your author), it’s quite possible to write the repetition off to having forgot that they’ve told the tale already! Maybe by telling the same stories these folks give themselves the appearance of establishing intimacy while really doing nothing of the sort. We’ll leave that to the psychologists.
I bring this up this morning because of a piece I read on how brands are using Facebook and how their behavior reminds me of the tale-tellers at the cocktail party. The report was in eMarketer, and the gist is this:
In December 2011, consulting firm A.T. Kearney analyzed the conversations happening on Facebook between 50 of the world’s top brands and their fans, comparing their interactions to those in December 2010.
The study found that in 2011, 94% of the 50 top brands’ Facebook pages directed users to a one-way communication page, such as a tab or a closed Facebook wall that didn’t allow consumers to initiate a conversation. This was up from 91% of the top 50 brands’ pages in 2010. Additionally, 56% of those brands did not respond to a single customer comment on their Facebook page in 2011; the same percentage of nonresponses as in 2010.
I suspect that part of this is due to those brands not wanting to deal with issues such as moderation (how to look for and deal with offensive comments and language), or full-time support of social marketing efforts. Too bad. Like the person who speaks only about themselves, these companies might think they’re engaging with their audience while the reality is they’re turning them off. I’m sure you’ve been on company pages that are nothing more than an endless stream of promotions. I’ve taken more than a few of those out of my news feed and I gather from the research I’m not alone.
If we’re going to use the tools of modern marketing the way we used the older, non-interactive tools, we’re missing the point and wasting the advantages these newer forms of marketing can bring. That’s what I think – what do you think?