The Risks of being a Self-Referencing Reveller

Research from Vanson Bourne on social media use by consumers reminds me that, when all is said and done, social media is just another marketing channel; albeit one with some powerful and useful characteristics.

One of the first rules of marketing and of business strategy is to avoid becoming self-referencing.  It is so tempting to make decisions on a sample of one, especially when that “one” is obviously the cleverest person you know: you.

So, as everyone is leaping on the social media bus, it is worth reading Vanson Bourne’s findings.  From a sample of 1,000 UK consumers, the research suggested that:

  • 48% of UK consumers do not use social media at all;
  • High intensity users – dubbed Revellers – are 3 times more likely to use social media sites than Dabblers (i.e. laggards) and, unsurprisingly, the range of sites, frequency of use and duration are all higher too;
  • But, Revellers constitute only 13% of the adult consumer population and are very unrepresentative in terms of age, gender and earnings.

For some products or services, social media will be an important channel.  But for others, it simply won’t and – while the direct costs may not be large – the significant investment in time to drive an effective social media strategy could easily be wasted if marketers haven’t first paused to confirm that their audience actually uses that channel.

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