Brands need to understand social media on a global scale, but it’s changing fast. Emma Monks, vice president of crisis intelligence at Crisp, explains the key trends
How is social media changing?
Within the UK broadcast sector, the launch of the fourth TV channel was a show-stopping event, but now there are hundreds of channels with programmes catering to every taste. Social media has followed the same path, from an initial few platforms to a bewildering array of offerings for every generation and niche interest. Consumers now have a number of varying social media channels to choose from around the world. The one constant is these channels are the preferred platforms for talking about, and engaging with, brands. This presents a huge opportunity for strengthening brand reputation, but it also comes with risks. The first step is for business leaders to understand the emerging players in this rapidly expanding global social landscape and then to have the right partners to separate the risks to their brand value from the opportunities to safely engage with their consumers in a meaningful way.
What are some of the more popular emerging social media platforms consumers turn to globally?
Social media platforms are not one size fits all, so which is most popular depends on the consumer segment we’re talking about. For instance, we know that more than 70 per cent of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 24, and visual messages resonate with them the most, whereas around 37 per cent of Twitter users are in that age range and short, informational messages resonate most.
What role does geography, culture and age play in how consumers use these channels to engage with one another?
Culture and geography play a large part in the choice of social platforms. For instance, where younger generations in China favour Weibo, in the West they favour Instagram. Younger generations tend to be attracted by platforms that have high visual functionality – image and video – where older generations often prefer to express themselves via a variety of longer text chunks backed up by visuals. Visual content continues to grow in popularity so platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are desirable destinations for younger generations.
A big challenge is finding not just fluent, but native and culturally aware people to interpret non-English content about the brand
How do consumers engage with brands differently across these various social channels and regions?
We find that Twitter is a key destination for customers who want to post queries and complaints to brands and get a fast answer, ideally in under an hour, whereas Facebook is often used for more detailed and longer complaints as well as recruitment queries. Instagram is the platform for fan engagement and is particularly popular for brands whose products are very visual, such as fashion, beauty and food.
What are some challenges brands face when engaging with consumers globally in a conversation that’s always on 24/7 and happening in multiple languages?
Brands tend to view consumers through the lens of the culture where the brand originated, so it’s extremely easy for them to cause offence in other cultures with well-intentioned marketing campaigns if they haven’t factored in local knowledge. Applying a local lens to global platforms creates potential for damage to brand reputation and value. A big challenge is finding not just fluent, but native and culturally aware people to interpret non-English content about the brand.
How can brands find out quickly if a threat to their brand reputation is surfacing half way around the world?
At Crisp we work with a number of global brands, currently protecting more than $3.6 trillion in market capitalisation from online harmful content. Global brands rely on us to provide 24/7 multi-language social intelligence about harmful online content before it becomes a threat to their brand reputation. Our data platform retrieves billions of pieces of content globally in near-real time to monitor everywhere that online harm could emerge. Our analysts, enabled through Crisp’s com- plex artificial intelligence, then provide specific online assessments and create rapid actionable intelligence 24/7 across more than 50 languages, so they can quickly see the signal through the noise when a threat to brand reputation emerges somewhere around the world, even at 3am.
For more information please visit crispthinking.com