While most marketers leverage Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers, not nearly as many consumers comment about these companies and brands on the social sites.
Market research company AYTM found that 57.8% of US Facebook users had not mentioned a brand in their status updates as of October 2011. More heartening for marketers is that just 0.5% of Facebook users posted only negative mentions about brands on Facebook. More often, they reported commenting on brands in a positive way (25.3%) or with a mix of both positive and negative mentions (16.4%).
US Twitter users nearly mirrored these results, with 61.3% of Twitter users saying they have not tweeted about a brand. Meanwhile, 25.4% of Twitter users said they only mentioned brands in positive tweets, 0.4% said they only mentioned them in negative tweets and 12.9% said in both positive and negative tweets.
Meanwhile, consumers are typically not learning about new brands, products and services from social media. Only 6.5% of US internet users said they most frequently hear about new brands, products and services from social media, while 17.6% said they often do and 26.5% said they sometimes do. A quarter of respondents (26%) said they never hear about these new offerings via social media.
Offline channels, such as TV, radio and print media were the ways consumers most frequently discovered new brands, products and services, while word-of-mouth and physical stores also played a role. US internet users also learned about new offerings more often from online elements that are not social media, such as online advertising or online shopping sites, than they do on social media.
Consumers are using social media more and more, and brands are on these social networks and willing to interact there. Getting consumers to discuss brands and products in their status updates and tweets is a challenge, but if they start to do so, it could continue to increase the influence that social media has in learning about new products and services.