Social media presence “not important” to drinks consumers

Consumers place less value on a social media presence when buying an alcohol brand than any other product type, according to latest research.

Positive Digital, which works with companies including Treasury Wine Estates, was commissioned to look at trends among drinks consumers and what drives them to purchase certain brands.

The research looked at what matters to them most – value for money, quality of product, relationship with the brand and the brand’s level of ethical responsibility.

Value for money in drinks came out as the most important factor for most consumers, with 48% of those questioned citing it as their most important deciding factor.

Quality came second on 37%, while ethical/environmental considerations and customer service both scored 3.7% each. Interestingly, however, the ability to interact with a brand via social media came out bottom of the pile, with just 2.5% of those questioned citing it as an important factor.

Keith Chamarette, senior account director at Positive Digital, told the drinks business: “The reality is that for many drinks brands, social media is still a new landscape which has not yet been explored, so it is not surprising that consumers don’t expect it yet.

“Brands entering social media need to be prepared and understand that this is not a space for hard sell. Similarly, just being there does not mean that consumers will come flocking.

“It needs a reason for being: an idea to engage consumers. This is not just what we want to tell people, but what our consumers are genuinely interested in.”

Far from discouraging brands from placing too much emphasis on social media in the wake of the results, Chamarette encouraged brands to explore the range of marketing opportunities available to them online to steal a march on rivals.

“While for most brands the [social media] space is about positive engagement, some are already realising that when things go wrong for consumers, social media is often the first place they go to vent their frustrations.

“Some will subsequently contact customer service, some just will not buy your product or use your service again. Smart brands are already activity-monitoring buzz online in order to amplify the positive and proactively address the negative.

“The goal here is to improve the Net Promoter Score for the brand, which has been proven to have a direct correlation with the bottom line.

“The social media environment is still relatively immature and there is a long way to go, but it is here to stay and it will go on evolving. Brands need to consider how social media might help them become part of the conversation rather than standing outside the party and not going in.”

The research follows advice at this year’s db Conference from Neil Morris, director of innovation at marketing and communications firm Engine Group, who told delegates: “We’ve got to be careful in making sure we identify the risks involved in social media.

“You can’t set rules any more, you can’t treat consumers in an online space like that,” said Morris. “It’s not like it’s a one-to-one conversation in a shop, this is on Facebook and it’s impossible to judge just how many people are looking at that conversation.”


5 Responses to “Social media presence “not important” to drinks consumers”

  1. ryan says:

    “You can’t set rules any more, you can’t treat consumers in an online space like that,” said Morris. “It’s not like it’s a one-to-one conversation in a shop, this is on Facebook and it’s impossible to judge just how many people are looking at that conversation.”

    What does this mean? What rules?

    This article is failing to realize that Social media has always existed, it just now happens to be online. It’s about conversations that have gone on everywhere all the time. It is exactly like a conversation in a shop with one big exception you can broadcast that conversation to many new clients.

    As for Facebook, you can tell how many people see the conversation. It’s actually pretty easy. Facebook wants you to know.

  2. Social media presence is “not important” for drinks consumers? Well, we at Phipps would beg to differ and we question the one dimensional interpretation of the facts. If value for money is what matters most to consumers then why have we been seeing such a dramatic increase in money-off vouchers and promotions since the arrival of Facebook and Twitter?

    Yes, it’s true that social media rarely leads to direct sales and the research concludes correctly that social media “is not a space for hard sell”. But that’s true for drinks companies and equally true for any other consumer-facing brand. (recent research from analyst house Forrester indicates that less than 2% of online orders were the result of shoppers coming from a social network). Brand owners need to judge social media for what it’s good at which is facilitating conversations between consumers, and between consumers and brands. If done correctly social media is invaluable in creating greater brand loyalty, encouraging repeat purchase and driving recommendation.

  3. The NESTLE survey 2011 of nutrition and consumer habits for Germany says, that only 13% of the population are using online media for information on food and drink. Family and friends are the main source (48%) of information, print media (40%) and even supermarket flyers (15%) are more important when it comes to nutrition.

    Interesting: for information on general purposes 78% of the population rely on family and friends followed by television (63%) and internet (58%). That shows: more and more people do use the internet, but not when it comes to food and drink – they go online only for products and issues they are more involved with.

  4. Keith Miller says:

    I must say this is most clear and concise article on this subject I have ever seen… Talking about juts getting to the point. Great job Alan!!! Way to be clear…


    Keith Miller

  5. billycripe says:

    Take a closer look at the data and at Michael P’s comment with regard to the Nestle study.
    Word of mouth recommendations/opinions from family and friends are the most important thing. Family and friends are communicating with eachother via Social Media. Family and friends are giving their opinions and recommendations via Facebook and twitter.

    People don’t care as much about interacting with the brand via social media – they care deeply about what others think of the brand. That information is migrating strongly to social media.

    This means that the focus for brands must be on spurring the conversation about their products – not dominating the conversation.

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