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.”