Geometry Global, which works with a roster of WPP agencies, recently completed a study for Expo that delineates who and how many of them there are; how influential they are; and how not to disdain them and generally make them vow never to see you again. Or, more salubriously, how to encourage them, engage with them, keep them in your brand and make them strong brand advocates.
The firm's study garnered survey data from a respondent sample of Expo's engaged-consumer population, a general population sample as a basis point, and from online video focus groups. Madden explained that, as the firm sifted findings, it put the respondent population into three behavior categories: posting about brands; posting at brands (on social networks), and seeking brand information. Some call-out stats from Geometry Global:
— BCCs constitute 25% of people who digitally engaged with brands in some way. "They post to and about brands every day and at least once per week; they can be everywhere, and they shop more frequently than others; and their interactions are influencing their purchases and those of others who are not that active," said Madden.
— On a tier below the BCCs are the 55% of consumers who are "brand aware," leveraging BCC activity to make their own decisions. Madden showed a graph suggesting the degree to which BCCs influence these consumers by the parallel purchase trending across product categories aligned by frequency of purchase.
— Madden said BCCs tend to be younger and educated, 60% of whom are responsible for grocery shopping, and in households where there are kids. Nearly six in ten are 18 to 34 years of age. "And they are shoppers and innovators: they know about the latest technology and products. They trust the information they find online."
— Geometry Global found that the channel of choice for BCCs to engage brands and comment is text messaging, with 47% doing it every day and 70% at least once a week. But they aren't avoiding pictures and videos, said Madden, "which is why YouTube is the number two search engine now."
— Sixty percent send messages directly to brands, and 80% feel its important that they get responses. Seventy percent feel its important to get those responses on their own social networks, and 75% feel its important to get them on review sites. "We saw that not only are they posting but they expect brands to acknowledge them when they do," noted Madden.
— The study found, more broadly, that when consumers are satisfied with the brand's interaction, 40% purchase more from the brand, and two in ten will buy brands for the first time because of that interaction. "And satisfied consumers are more likely to recommend the brand to others," said Madden. Fifty-six percent of the time that a person posts a comment because they are dissatisfied, they get no response from the brand. Too bad, because the study also found that 70% of those people will stop buying the brand.
Kwon said consumers pay close attention to BCC commentary. "They see it on news feeds and when researching products. They are moved [to act or not] by people giving information," she said, pointing out that BCCs do not opine online about the brands they use just to get a following, but because it comes naturally to them. "It's where they were doing an activity, and it was appropriate at that place and time.
Since they want to engage with you, you can find them on your site among your Facebook fans, on your YouTube site, among your subscribers; they are making themselves known to you and through CRM you should be rounding them up and communicating with them. They need and want to feel valued by you, but they are very persuasive. Pre-planning what you are going to engage them on is very important.