98% of Brands Miss the Mark on Social Media

Lithium Technologies today released the State of Social Engagement 2017, its annual study that examines whether brands are using social to engage effectively with consumers. Among the key findings, 98 percent of brands are stuck in broadcast mode, relying largely on push tactics rather than proactively listening and responding to their customers across social channels. And a mere one percent of brands build relationships with advocates and influencers, shocking given that this is a resource brands can turn to in the event of a social media crisis.

Combining hard data with human analysis, the State of Social looks at eight industries and 70 of the world’s top brands to determine how strategic and effective brands are across their social channels and communities.

Since last year’s report, brands showed improvements including better storytelling, more cohesion across channels, and more engagement with follower content. But despite these specific tactical improvements, engagement overall is down year over year for most brands due to lack of strategic focus, increased noise from competitors, and the proliferation of new channels which can strain internal resources.

In the event of a crisis consumers inevitably turn to social media to voice their opinion, which can cause bad situations to worsen for brands who aren’t prepared,” said Rob Tarkoff, Lithium president and CEO. “It’s no longer a question of whether social has real-world impact on businesses. It does, and getting the strategy right will have a direct impact on stock price, sales, and long-term success of the business.”

Top study findings are as follows:

Declining performance:

  • 98% of brands’ social strategies are stuck in antiquated “broadcast” mode (up from 95%t last year).
  • 99% of brands are not tapping influencers across channels (up from 96% last year).

Areas of improvement:

  • 27% of brands leveraged storytelling this year (a significant jump from last year’s 6 percent), as more shifted away from relying on “random” one-off posts.
  • Brands leveraged Facebook (73%) and Twitter (63%) to engage with consumers, but largely ignored channels like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
  • Last year, less than 40% of brands asked questions of their followers or engaged with follower content. This year, that number jumped to 56%.
  • Similarly, brands got the hint on leveraging follower content with 63% retweeting followers, compared to just 35% in 2016.

The full report can be accessed here: https://www.lithium.com/state-of-social-2017