Marketers to Take a Closer Look at Social Media Myths

Research firms regularly publish reports filled with statistics about social media use.  Often these reports attempt to show that as social media use increases, consumer use of other media formats decreases. As these statistics are shared and discussed, they gain credibility but perhaps they should be more closely scrutinized. Otherwise, according to ExactTarget, businesses risk undervaluing other media formats and negatively impacting their marketing plans.

ExactTarget recently looked at several myths about social networking and noted its own perspective on each of these topics:

  • Email using  – ExactTarget analysts point out that Nielsen data published earlier this year was misinterpreted by many analysts.  While social networking behavior on  mobile devices logged a double digit increase in the past year, email also increased on these devices, from 37.4% to 41.6%.
  • Value of a Facebook fan – Some reports pin the value of a Facebook fan at over $130.  While ExactTarget analysts say these reports are plausible, they encourage marketers to consider the non-​monetary value of a fan and to find ways to mobilize fans to improve brand reputation.
  • Twitter  – While some celebrities have ceased using Twitter, other users have found it to be a valuable tool and have built a following and become famous because of the way they use the tool.
  • Social media – Analysts cite data that shows consumers who frequently use Facebook or Twitter have actually increased the amount of time they also spend in person with friends.

The take-​away from this study is that “social media interactions aren’t a zero-​sum game.” Studies that attempt to show how an increase in time spent on one media format results in a decrease in time spent on other media formats are focusing on the wrong details. To improve marketing outcomes, businesses should look at how consumers use multiple channels, often simultaneously.

[Source:  Social Mythbusting. Exacttarget​.com. Nov. 2010. Web. 9 Nov. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.