Social Media Doesn’t Make Users Less Social

October 28, 2010

Social media is not making users less social, despite popular contrary opinion, according to a new white paper from ExactTarget and CoTweet.

Increased SocNet Use Leads to Increased Face-to-Face Interaction
“Social Mythbusting” research shows that individuals who are becoming more active on Facebook and Twitter are also interacting with friends in “real” (not virtual) settings more often, despite assertions to the contrary from many industry observers. ExactTarget data shows that among consumers increasing Facebook use, 27% are meeting friends in person more and only 13% are meeting friends less. The same consumers increasing Facebook use are calling friends on the phone more and less often (19% each).

Consumers increasing Twitter use show results substantially more skewed to increased personal interaction. Forty-six percent are meeting friends in person more and only 7% less, while 33% are calling friends on the phone more and 13% less.

Big Names Aren’t Leading to Increased Twitter Usage
Although an increasing number of celebrities are joining Twitter, ExactTarget research shows that they have not increased Twitter use among most people. In the last six months, across the 12 types of Twitter users identified by ExactTarget, only a range of 8-18% are using Twitter more. Meanwhile, the range of those saying they are using Twitter less varies from 10%-45%.


Facebook Fans’ Worth Hard to Measure
Recent findings from Syncapse indicate that the average Facebook fan is worth $136.38 to a brand and Facebook fans spend an average of an extra $71.84 on a product. However, previous ExactTarget research indicates only 17% of US consumers reported that they’re more likely to buy as a result of liking a brand.


So while Syncapse’s study does establish the average annual spend of a Facebook fan, ExactTarget advises it doesn’t suggest the increase in value that can be attributed to Facebook, since many of these consumers have already reached their limit to purchase additional products, goods, or services from brands.

ExactTarget recommends that marketers must resist the temptation to view Facebook as merely an acquisition or loyalty channel, where number of fans is directly linked to ROI. Fans are a valuable part of a marketing strategy, but must be empowered to act as viral advocates for a brand with their own friends and contacts.

6 in 10 SocNet Users Feel More Connected
Six in 10 (59%) of social network users say they feel more connected to people now than previously, according to a recent Harris Poll. That figure is highest among 18-to-34-year-olds (63%) and females (61%). Similar percentages (58% overall, 63% of 18-to-34-year-olds, 60% of females) say they keep in touch with friends more now than in the past.

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