Brands on the other hand are flocking to these platforms often in experimental outreach programs and in other cases in concerted and (somewhat) organized efforts that span brands, employees, agencies and more.
My take on this is that social media engagement itself has to have a reason - it's not just the engagement but the reason for engagement. Is it about helping your customers learn more about your products and services? Is it another outpost for customer service? Are these things that consumers are going to feel comfortable sharing publicly?
Our team has spent a lot of time thinking about this - about SocialCRM, about using social in our own efforts and about which of those efforts is productive. I am fortunate to work for a company that is embracing this and willing to try new things and organize effort around activities that make sense to have a social component. For me the reality is that these are only part of the story because even if we were to randomly get lucky in the social space and get to everyone that is 'following' us we would still have to work through a multitude of other engagement points and channels. This is also true of our customers and partners.
The best approach is going to be to get this integrated into the other things that you do. Treating it as an experiment or side project makes it even harder to integrate down the road. Accept that we live in a multi-channel world and a multi-screen universe and that each one has strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly that each one needs to be able to 'see' the other.
I am no psychologist but I suspect that there is something else at play as well. Social media is social and we don't hang out with faceless friends. If we did hang out with faceless friends we would feel very awkward engaging with them on a regular basis. But I'll let the PHd-types sort that one out.
Now the study / article from Razorfish and MediaPost.
(I have noted that Razorfish attributes the management of it's Twitter account to real people that you can also engage with)
While marketers have flocked to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, consumers still don't view them as important ways to engage with a brand, since they don't meet their expectations. Most people still prefer to connect with brands through more traditional methods, such as email, company Web sites or word-of-mouth.
That's among the key findings from a new report from Razorfish titled "Liminal", based on its own primary research, customer data from a study for Virgin America and social network data compiled by online tracking company Rapleaf on 100,000 consumers. The goal was to look at customer-relationship management more from a consumer's standpoint than a marketer's to understand how people choose to interact with brands.
Read more at www.mediapost.com
Across the board, consumers cited "feeling valued" as the most important element of brand engagement. "This demonstrates that both the hipster who DMs a company on Twitter and a boomer who sends a letter in the mail both ultimately want the same thing. Thus, companies should worry less about building out numerous channels and touchpoints and more about ensuring each customer interaction communicates value," advised Razorfish.