Building Online Consumer Engagement

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With social media marketing becoming ever more established, there are now countless brands battling for online consumer engagement. Whether it is fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter, most major brands are looking to build consistent and useful social media fan bases.
However, although a loyal following is a good start, how this following interacts and communicates is also a key factor in a brand’s social media success. With this in mind, WaveMetrix took a look at the different ways brands have built and shaped online consumer engagement.

  • Premium brands are beginning to talk less about their products and more about lifestyle
  • Other brands are encouraging product specific discussion to drive purchase consideration
  • Campaigns that linked social media back into the real world helped drive engagement
  • Tried and tested competitions and giveaways are continuing to work well
  • Some brands are beginning to monetise social media

Premium brands begin to talk less about products and more about lifestyle
During Q4 2010, a number of premium brands used non-product specific social media content in order to focus consumer attention on their wider brand image, rather than their specific product offering.

For example, Burberry promoted emerging music artists under the slogan “Bands Burberry believes in”, with 28% of Burberry Facebook discussion relating to this Burberry Music project, rather than Burberry products themselves.

Only a minority Burberry Facebook fans focus on products:

Other brands encouraged product-specific discussion which drove purchase consideration
Gucci, Xbox and BMW encouraged a tighter focus on specific products by promoting product related material.  This led more consumers to actively say they were considering purchasing, but also stimulated some criticism of the specific product.
For example, BMW engaged consumers with their new models successfully and this drove some potential owners to explicitly say they were “considering” a BMW. However, high levels of product discussion also led to 34% of product comments being negative, with “impractical” BMW models criticised.

Linking social media back into the real world helps drive engagement
Using social media to promote real-world events and initiatives worked well towards the end of 2010. Consumers showed interest in tangible events and showed that social media can drive footfall in store.
For example, Smirnoff invited consumers across the globe to use social media to share ideas for their ideal night out and then promptly made those ideas a reality through the Nightlife Exchange Party. This scheme drove large amounts of engagement, with 87% of buzz on Smirnoff’s Facebook page revolving around the parties.
Tried and tested competitions and giveaways continue to work well
Mainstay marketing techniques like competitions and giveaways continued to work well in Q4 2010. Corona, Netgear, Sony Ericsson and Pizza Express all used simple competitions and giveaways to drive engagement from current fans and also to capture new fans.
Some brands begin to successfully monetise social media
The end of 2010 saw a few brands take the first steps into monetising social media. Panasonic provided exclusive offers and discounts for Facebook fans and allowed them to purchase directly through an integrated Facebook store.

For further information, please download the full quarterly summary report, which includes all relevant case studies.

Written by Andy Pilkington

Andy works as a senior research executive at WaveMetrix, a social media monitoring company that doesn’t  just capture buzz, but actually reads it.

6 responses to “Building Online Consumer Engagement

  1. Nice post! I’m actually analyzing metrics from thousands of social media promotions run on the Wildfire platform, and have noticed some similarities to your findings. If you are running an idea/essay-type of contest, you will get better performance if it’s more about lifestyle vs. one specifically about your product. We will be posting more about this soon on our blog. And yes, running sweeps & contests on facebook pages are a great way to get more fans and drive engagement.

  2. Thank you for the contributing posts Erik! They are providing valuable info.

    It’s been interesting to see how Social Media has changed (for the better) the way businesses and their customers interact. SM is no longer in its infancy and I look forward to seeing how this medium matures throughout

  3. Really interesting stuff in here.
    I totally agree that engaging your fan base about things they’re interested in and not just your product is a great approach. By adding a little more value than just your brand to your customers lives, they will start to look at you not just as a seller of products, but a conveyer of a lifestyle that’s in-tune with theirs.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  4. Online consumer engagement is definitely the most effective way to interact and relate with consumers. Social media definitely plays a significant role in attracting consumers as they are already sick and tired of hearing about brands and products itself! They want to hear something new.
    Marketers have actually realized that they need to relate their brands to something that is not just catchy enough for their fans but also relate to their brand positioning.

  5. This is a fascinating piece of research. Having worked in digital marketing for the past 3 years, I’ve seen social media go from a fledgling plaything for ‘trendy’ digital marketers to an established presence for major brands and businesses across the board.

    The exciting thing is that we are now starting to see tangible results, findings, discoveries and learnings, just like the information contained in this post. I think that 2011 will produce a lot of published learnings, which will in turn feed more streamlined and effective social media marketing.

    Exciting times.

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