Seven Facts You Didn't Know About Social Media

As I write this, I’m flying home enjoying the JetBlue experience after three days at MediaPost’s sixth Social Media Insider Summit in Florida, where the quest for knowledge about how to market in social media often yielded this: how much we still have to learn.

To some extent, this jumped out at me when it came to odd things some among us do, in fact, know. Twitter global product marketing chief Guy Yalif, who gave the opening keynote, on mobile use of Twitter, astounded the audience when he divulged that people respond better to tweets containing whole dollar figures. That is, if you thought you were better off telling people they could buy your product for a lo, lo $9.99, you’re dead wrong. A tweet offering something for a lo, lo $10 would fare a lot better, and just think of all that extra penny profit! (Fact No. 1)

Meanwhile, Brian Madden, executive director/audience development and social media, Hearst Digital – who keynoted on the final day of the conference – let it be known just how effective Cosmo cover lines are in social media. (Yes, Cosmo is a Hearst brand.) But here’s the thing: if you think that you’ll do well with a tweet promoting a story about 10 new ways to please your partner, you’d be better off listing nine. People respond better to odd numbers than they do to even. (Fact No. 2)

 

And then there’s the strange case of the social media-based customer service, that wasn’t. Turns out that many brands are just plain horrible at using this much-touted customer service channel, even though it’s been obvious for at least four years (maybe I should claim five?) that brands are effectively outed for their customer service transgressions every time a consumer posts a whining tweet about them.

But no. Edison Research says that 42% of consumers expect to hear back from a brand within 60 minutes. (Fact No. 3)

But the reality – and I’ll admit to cherry-picking from separate research here – is that companies don’t deliver. According to a sponsor presentation by Kyle Lacy, senior manager, content marketing and research, ExactTarget, retailers go dark on social media channels just when they should be on-point. In ExactTarget’s “Retail Touchpoints Exposed!” study, 51% of the time it’s other Facebook users– not brands – who respond first when people ask customer service questions. The average response time for a retailer was seven hours on Twitter and Facebook, and on weekends, it’s an arthritic 27 hours.  As Lacy pointed out, that misses the window in which people are buying stuff. (Fact Nos. 4, 5, and 6.)

Lastly, 13% of people would rather give up their refrigerator than their smartphone. (Fact No. 7)

I write this column with full awareness that it is, in a word, random. There’s no secret sauce here that will help you reinvent your brand using social channels. On the other hand, I hope these factoids do serve one purpose: by reminding all of us that we have a lot to learn.

We need to hold these Summits more often so we can figure this stuff out. So it’s good that we have another Social Media Insider Summit in August. And the best news is that it’s our seventh.

Tags: social media
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4 comments about "Seven Facts You Didn't Know About Social Media".
  1. Noah Wieder from SearchBug, Inc. , February 15, 2013 at 6:57 p.m.
    Catharine, Thanks for the cliff notes on the Summit in Florida. I think if we are to compare the Internet Revolution to the Industrial Revolution (Wikipedia quotes about 1760 - 1820ish, give or take a decade), we're still in such an infancy period. I'll say we're about 20 or so years into what I call the Internet Revolution and probably several decades away from being able to harness it all. You don't know, what you don't know, until you do... Great stuff. Thanks again.
  2. Pete Austin from Triggered Messaging , February 18, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.
    "Facts" 1 and 2 can't both be true. If "fact" 2 is true, then people would respond better to $9.99 (three odd digits in a row) than $10 (an even number).
  3. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing , February 18, 2013 at 10 p.m.
    ergo, the Social Media Insider Summit = Trivia(l) Pursuit.
  4. Cathy Taylor from MediaPost , February 19, 2013 at 11:29 a.m.
    Hi all, Pete, I should have done another example that used an odd number...but the point is that in the heirarchy of things people respond to the old $9.99 or $8.99 or whatever that is so often seen at retailers and during infomercials everywhere doesn't work as well on Twitter...which is fascinating, if somewhat inexplicable. Cathy