Brands Building Community Should Promote Own Sites Vs. Facebook, Twitter

At least as community-building tools, marketers should forget about Facebook and Twitter. That’s the crux of a new report from Forrester Research, which suggests that the social giants are losing their grip on what has historically been known as “social” marketing.

“Top brands Facebook and Twitter posts reach only about 2% of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1% of fans and followers interact with each post,” Forrester analyst Nate Elliott explains in the new report. “Marketers need to rebuild their social relationship strategies around sites that work.”

In place of Facebook and Twitter, Elliott and his colleagues suggest that brands build out their own social-friendly properties. Indeed, U.S. online adults are nearly three times more likely to visit a brand’s Web site than to engage them on Facebook.

To illustrate his point, Elliott points to Sony, which worked with social-media software provider Livefyre to build a social-focused microsite around the launch of its PlayStation 4 gaming console last year. The site,, attracted a readership of roughly 75,000 fans who visited the site around 4.5 million times, and on average, stuck around for about four minutes per visit.

As he has in the past, Elliott also recommends that brands make the most of less congested networks, like Instagram and Pinterest, both of which still offer strong reach and engagement numbers.

“Top brands Instagram posts generate a per-follower engagement rate 58 times higher than their Facebook posts and 120 times higher than their Twitter posts,” Elliott notes.

Granted, for a majority of marketers (55%), Facebook does currently meet their expectations. According to Elliott, however, that’s no reason to settle.

“Facebook gave up on engagement and little wonder,” Elliott notes. “On average, only .073% of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with each of their posts, [and] the numbers are even lower on Twitter and most other social networks.”

Elliott is not predicting the demise of Facebook or Twitter. Yet, along with loyalty programs and email marketing, their utility to marketers will increasing fall into the category of customer relationship management (CRM), he predicts.

“For instance, Las Vegas casino operator MGM Resorts International uses CRM data to target users through both email and custom audience-targeted Facebook ads,” Elliott notes. “The result: Facebook marketing that actually works.”

For its findings, Forrester surveyed 4,541 U.S. adults (ages 18 to 88) back in March.
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