Today market research firm Forrester published a report for brands titled "Social Relationship Strategies That Work."
So: What works?
Not Facebook or Twitter.
The crux of the research suggests that brands are wasting their time, effort, and money on Facebook and Twitter to diminishing returns. A study conducted by the firm from earlier this year found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers. Engagement is even more measly: A mere 0.07% of followers actually interact with those posts.
"Stop making Facebook the center of your relationship marketing efforts," writes Nate Elliott, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. Facebook has been in the process of tapering off its free-traffic firehose since January, as part of its promoted content push. Unpaid posts are out, paid is in, which puts anyone who relies on the social network for reach in a difficult position.
"It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter don’t offer the relationships that marketing leaders crave," Elliott continues. "Yet most brands still use these sites as the centerpiece of their social efforts—thereby wasting significant financial, technological, and human resources on social networks that don’t deliver value."
"It’s time for marketers to start building social relationship strategies around sites that can deliver value," he adds.
Basically, if your brand is looking for engagement on social media you’re probably better off turning your attention away from giant networks like Twitter and Facebook. This is especially true if you're trying to engage fans on Twitter, where context is lacking and being funny is hard. (A few examples: here, here, and here.)
So where should you devote your time and energy? It really depends on your business. Forrester predicts that "branded communities" are going to be the next big thing in 2015, citing the fact that Sony's GreatnessAwaits.com microsite for the PlayStation 4 attracted 4.5 million visits. If fans are looking for you, Forrester suggests, they'll seek you out.
Email should be a focal point, too. "Plus your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time—and no one’s looking over your shoulder telling you what you can and can’t say in your emails," writes Elliott. "If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time."
To recap: Don't tweet. Don't waste your time on Facebook. Email still works. Sounds great.
[h/t: Wall Street Journal]