Online brand conversations do not represent ALL brand conversations

Not all conversations about brands hit the idyllic notes of the Pissarro painting above, nor do they all look the same! You may recall that a while back we shared some research on the intersection of customer service and word of mouth from Engagement Labs. Well they have published a great piece of work on the relationship between online and offline brand conversations that you may want to have a look at.

The tl;dr version (tl;dr = internet shorthand for 'too long; didn't read' for those of us still building our social media vocabulary) is that what consumers say about brands online (in volume, sentiment, brand sharing, and influence) is not the same as what they say offline or IRL (more social jargon meaning In Real Life).

But how is Engagement Labs' work relevant for consumer affairs? Many of our clients engaged in social media on behalf of their brands. Their role ranges from publishing content to listening to providing consumer care as well as reporting on social conversations. This piece of research in particular is useful on several levels:

  1. I have heard marketers often refer to wanting a '360 degree' view of consumer conversations, including contacts to consumer affairs as well as general social mentions. This work suggests that the differences could be substantial. While there is some value aggregating this data in one report, it is equally valuable to segment them as well. After all, what consumers are saying TO a brand ia different than what they say ABOUT a brand (certainly the motivation/intent is different).
  2. In some cases social listening could be viewed as a replacement for all of the effort and cost that goes into capturing and coding consumer contacts. It is worth remembering that the online mentions of a brand are not necessarily representative of all consumer conversations.
  3. As owners of consumer conversations it is always a great idea to cast a wide net in understanding relevant research, data, and trends. Consumer care leaders are in a position to truly be masters of this domain, staying externally connected helps best position your team to contribute to brand goals.


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Topics: word of mouth, strategy, research