Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Young Canada prefers social branding

The good news for SMBs trying to get their message out online?  Younger Canadians really “like” following brands recommended to them on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
The bad news? They’re also the most fickle when it comes to following those brands over the long term, according to a study by Ipsos Loyalty.
Of all the Canadian social media users polled, 49 per cent said they are influenced by such online endorsements of brands, companies or products. But a striking trend stands out when it comes to age: while only 40 per cent in the over-55 age group are swayed by “like” suggestions, a more prominent 56 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 say they are influenced by such recommendations.
Younger Canadians are also likely to follow more brands -- an average of five -- on social media than older Canadians, who follow an average of just one brand online, the study found.
It’s no surprise that younger Canadians are more influenced by such branding because younger people are simply bigger users of social media overall, says Rob Manne, vice-president of digital and creative strategy at the Toronto branch of global public relations firm Edelman.
“This (age) group grows up with social media being part of their lives and also interacting more with brands on social media,” says Manne.
The flip side is that Canadians 18 to 34 are also less loyal to brands on social media, with 41 per cent admitting they have “unliked” a brand, versus just 15 per cent of their older counterparts.
“Because (youth) are more likely to get involved (in social media) they’re more likely to be fickle. If you’re following a lot of brands and you don’t use them, you might think ‘Why don’t I check out some others?’” Manne says.
Is all of this brand flipping among youngsters due to ineffective marketing aimed at them on social media?
“I wouldn’t call into question (whether) the marketing isn’t conveying the message,” says Dave Pierzchala, Vancouver-based vice-president at Ipsos Loyalty. “I think it’s more the fickle nature of people who are younger and they’ve just grown up with this choice. It’s all something that for (older generations) was like being able to change the channel with a remote.”
To maintain any audience you attract on social media, “you have to give someone a reason not to flip the channel,” Pierzchala says.
The top reason cited by all study respondents for “unliking” a brand online was that they “lost interest” in it. Here are some tips for SMBs on how to grab – and keep – eyeballs of all ages focused on their brand.
Make it interactive: Some users are turned off if a company’s only presence on social media consists of obvious marketing messages or press releases, so make it more interactive instead of one-way, Manne suggests.
“(You) should be looking at social media as an always-on conversational approach as opposed to a marketing tool, treating it as if you’re having daily conversations relevant to your brand, but also relevant to your audience,” he says.
Some simple ways to be interactive include contests, giveaways, trivia and polls.


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