Why the social channel is not stand-alone

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on September 16, 2010

Why the social channel is not stand-alone

Brands are increasingly expected to engage with customers through channels such as e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter in a collaborative approach rather than using each as a separate marketing channel, according to a survey of 1,500 consumers by ExactTarget.

The survey report, entitled 'The Collaborative Future', provides insights into how consumers want to engage with brands via email, Facebook and Twitter. "Consumers don't isolate their communications via email, Facebook and Twitter, and they expect brands to communicate consistently across all of these channels," explained Jeff Rohrs, principal for ExactTarget's marketing research and education group.

As a result, marketers should focus on developing and implementing an integrated strategy that combines - not isolates - the strengths of each of these online channels.

Among the key findings of the research:

  • 93% of online consumers subscribe to email marketing messages, 38% are fans of brands on Facebook and 5% follow brands on Twitter.  
  • Of those who interact with brands via email, Facebook and Twitter, 27% of email subscribers, 17% of Facebook fans and 37% of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase from a brand after engaging with the brand via each channel.  
  • Of those who interact with brands via email, Facebook and Twitter, 24% of email subscribers, 21% of Facebook fans and 33% Twitter followers are more likely to recommend a brand after interacting with the brand via each channel.  
  • Twitter is most likely to drive increased purchase intent; followed by email and Facebook. However, given the comparatively small percentage of consumers that interact with brands on Twitter and Facebook, email remains the cornerstone of online retention marketing programmes.  
  • 67% of consumers have subscribed to email marketing messages to receive discounts or promotions, compared to 40% of consumers who have become a fan of a brand on Facebook and 31% who have followed a brand Twitter for the same reason.  
  • 39% of Facebook users who become fans do so to publicly display their brand affiliation to friends - nearly twice as often as consumers who follow brands on Twitter (22%) and nearly four times more often than consumers who subscribe to email communications (11%) for the same reason.  
  • 20% of consumers indicate they have followed a brand on Twitter in order to interact with the company - more than become email subscribers (14%) or Facebook fans (13%) for the sake of interaction.

The report provides several recommendations for marketers to help develop a more effective online strategy across all three channels, including:

  1. Promote Facebook games, applications and competitions in email and on Twitter.  
  2. Communicate via Twitter and Facebook about exclusive content only available to email subscribers.  
  3. Feature winners of Facebook competitions in email marketing newsletters.  
  4. Post links to web versions of email marketing messages on Twitter and Facebook.  
  5. Create an email segment containing subscribers active on Twitter and offer them additional insider information via email marketing messages.  
  6. Encourage email subscribers to post questions on Facebook and Twitter.

The report is the final research brief in ExactTarget's and CoTweet's six-part 'Subscribers, Fans & Followers' research series, which has been made available for purchase directly from Exact Target's web site - click here.

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