There’s no denying that consumers are increasing the time they spend on social networking sites. For marketers of consumer products, this trend 5784_levisoffers a great opportunity to reach female shoppers. But according to a joint study by ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive that was recently presented at an industry conference, companies that are trying to enhance their brands via social networks risk alienating consumers with their current strategy.

The study finds support for the theory that ‘there is a willingness among women to partner with brands in social media.’ This support is evidenced by the 52% of women who have ‘friended’ or become a fan of a specific brand. The 10% of women who engage with a brand online, take the following actions:

  • Find information 8.7%
  • Write reviews 1.0%

But on the other hand, over 8 in 10 women have a ‘neutral’ or ‘negative’ feeling when they encounter brands on social networking sites. In a further indication that marketers are using the wrong strategy to brand themselves on social networking sites, only 3.3% of women say they are greatly influenced by what they find on these sites.

These statistics must change if marketers hope to improve the results of their branding efforts via social networks. Jonathan Ashton, co-presenter of the study and managing partner for Agency.com, Chicago,  suggests that marketers should “disassociate the brand from product and associate the brand with lifestyle or something that has more meaning on a personal level.” As more marketers use this strategy, the interaction on social networking sites may improve and positively impact the bottom line.

[Sources: Q Interactive release, 9.1.09; Straczynski, Stacy, Social Network Branding Fails to Sway Female Purchasing, Gourmet Retailer, 9.3.09]