Retail TouchPoints: Social Media ‘Fatigue’ Impacts Channel Growth

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Aug 31, 2011
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Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

Although analysts have predicted that social media will continue to have a significantly positive effect on brand awareness and purchase decisions, a new report by Gartner has revealed a growing social media "fatigue" among users of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The findings were based on a survey of more than 6,000 respondents between the ages of 13 and 74, and compiled in a report titled: User Survey Analysis: Trends in Consumers’ Use of Social Media.

"Aspirers," a group Gartner describes as "young, more mobile, brand-conscious consumers" ages 19 to 39, are leveraging social media less often, according to the survey. Approximately 31 percent of this group’s respondents indicated they are growing bored with current social networks and yearn for a unique and innovative platform.

"Branded content needs to be kept fresh and must be able to capture people’s attention instantly," according to Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "The new generation of consumers is restless and short on attention span, and a lot of creativity is needed to make a meaningful impact."

To peak interest among younger consumers, retailers developing a social media plan should focus on initiating compelling communication.

"Retailers really need to focus on establishing a social media strategy for their product and brands, make a plan for connecting with these customers at their points of interest such as social networking sites, mobile devices, and through partnerships with established businesses who already have a presence in the consumer market," Mr. Blau explained. Additionally, he urged companies to leverage social media analytics, "which are used to help organizations understand what those customers are saying in the online social conversations."

To counteract this social media "fatigue," providers must innovate, Mr. Blau noted.

"Consumers will continue to embrace social networking services, and service providers are constantly innovating and adding new products and features that will keep consumer interest in social networking for the foreseeable future," he said. "While we did find that interest in social networking from some segments is starting to wane, this is counterbalanced by the technology providers’ view that social interactions are a more effective way to reach and interact with their customers."

Discussion Questions: What might signs of waning interest in social media indicate about its development as a means to foster relationships with consumers? How should retailers or brands react to signs of social media fatigue?

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11 Comments on "Retail TouchPoints: Social Media ‘Fatigue’ Impacts Channel Growth"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Let’s be honest here. “Engagement,” “compelling content” and the rest have revolved around making your brand fan page a variation of Val-pak. True “likes” happen in-store. It’s no wonder customers are fatigued with social media. Next up? The whole “deals” phenomenon.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

We shouldn’t jump to conclusions from this one study. Retailers and brands need to have a social media strategy. Social media will remain a necessity for retailers and brands to interact with consumers. A good social media program provides valuable information, listens for feedback and then interacts in a constructive, non-selling way with consumers.

There are many forms that this could take from encouraging dialogue on retail or brand website to having a Facebook page to communicating with Twitter. Each retailer or brand needs to find its own social media fit. One thing retailers and brands cannot afford to do…sit on the sidelines.

Warren Thayer
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Use social media more for reaching younger people than older people. Urge sites like Facebook to make privacy settings transparent and easier to use so you don’t lose more of the older people.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 8 months ago

This is a very interesting question and not so much as to what the answer is, but what the outcome will be. Small, medium and large size retailers seem to be embracing social media as a valuable marketing, branding and customer service vehicle. So what happens when Facebook become yesterday’s news? Don’t think it will happen? Maybe but remember MySpace? And what about Google’s attempt at social networking? I have always said to all my clients and colleagues that social media is one small part of the marketing puzzle and cannot be totally relied upon.

Dan Berthiaume
Guest
Dan Berthiaume
9 years 8 months ago

By not being too aggressive with their social media marketing. Once a consumer “likes” your brand on a socnet, let them take advantage of all the features and functions available to them at their own pace.

David Biernbaum
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

There are too many brands and companies doing exactly the same things right now in social media. If you are managing the creative social media for a brand, think of it this way: what are you doing or saying that makes it worthwhile for the audience to pay attention to what you are doing?

Gene Detroyer
Guest
9 years 8 months ago
Whose fatigue are we talking about? There are no signs that users of social media are experiencing fatigue. Perhaps that is a word the marketers are using because users are paying less and less attention to their messages. When will marketers understand that social media is SOCIAL. It is for people connections and despite the comments of Mitt Romney, companies are not people. Marketing messages are an imposition is the social media scheme. I was fascinated this weekend as I watched my 40-year old children use Twitter and Facebook to get information on Irene. They knew more about the progress of the storm, the status of electrical outages and the roads than were available on any news channel. LinkedIn has become a terribly important business tool for me. Any marketer that uses it as a tool to send me a message is imposing on my work space. The result is annoyance and rejection. I repeat, social media is SOCIAL. Marketers are still trying to use it with a broadcast mindset. That is terribly shortsighted, but… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

There is no fatigue with users in channels that have a specific strategy with clear objectives. B2B and B2C efforts are growing rapidly. Casual, personal use may be on the decline, however. How long could YOU tweet about what color your hair is today? Social Media is the next Internet. Period. It is a way we communicate. Whatever happens to current channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) is not the point. Those channels will merge and/or die as new ones emerge. The point is that communication will evolve and it will evolve through social media. Where a business begins to reap ROI for their efforts is through the monetization of social media so it becomes social business.

Phil Rubin
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Gartner’s findings around social media becoming tired relate directly to Mr. Blau’s point: “Retailers really need to focus on ESTABLISHING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY! (emphasis mine!) This strategy, in our view, needs to integrate with a broader customer relationship marketing strategy.

For many retailers, and marketers in other categories as well, we’re seeing the classic pursuit of tactics sans — or in search of — a strategy. As you can see in a blog post from last week this is becoming the norm, as it is in other marketing disciplines. People like to chase shiny new objects, a phenomenon a wise client refers to as the “Squirrel Factor.”

The upside of this reality is that smart retailers and smart marketers in general can really set themselves and their brands apart by using social to be smart, generate insights and deliver value to customers where it matters. Ultimately that place is the cash register.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Or maybe it really will turn out that people who sit around all day typing “LOL” in response to one of their 915 “friends'” posts weren’t all that important to most companies…just maybe.

Fabien Tiburce
Guest
Fabien Tiburce
9 years 8 months ago
The “fatigue” is very much there and was built into the social media phenomenon. I remember a time when you would email somebody you didn’t know and get a response. I remember a time when a co-worker of mine emailed a company to tell them he liked their search engine. Two weeks later, he got a tee-shirt with the company’s logo on it. That company was a little unknown called “Google”; the year was 1999. Engagement is built into new technologies, new services and new mediums. It slowly diminishes over time as “experts” advise all companies to jump on the bandwagon. Facebook has been on the downturn for 12 months, precisely as big business is marching in. JF Kennedy’s grand-father once said he knew it was time to sell his stocks (just before 1929) when he got a stock tip from a cab driver! Social media has been over played to death. Social media is nice but heavily saturated. Reaching out to customers and creating a multi-faceted, multi-channel experience based on a heuristic approach is… Read more »
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