The Difference Between Social Media ‘Sharers’ and ‘Brand Promoters’ and Why it Matters

Why likes, follows, and shares don't necessarily mean what you think.

Brands do a lot of boasting about the number of followers, likes, and shares they garner on social media.

But while the ability to prove visibility and popularity is nothing to sneeze at, how can a brand tell how many of those interactions are truly meaningful? As it turns out, there’s a measurable difference between casual social media “sharers” and “true brand advocates,” and understanding that difference may be key to building a stronger social media presence and customer relationships.

According to a new study from Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey, there are far more “social sharers” out there than there are true “promoters.” Surprised?! While 58 percent of American survey respondents qualify as “sharers” because they proactively share their brand experiences with others, only two in ten (19 percent) fall into the “promoter” category and say they are extremely likely to recommend products and brands to friends via social media.

And as you can see from the below infographic, the two groups’ motivations for interacting with brands and the responses they get are quite different as well. Promoters have a stronger desire to be associated with certain brands and link them to their own personal identities, and they also get stronger and more frequent responses from friends (in other words, they get more people to talk about the brand in question):

ogilvy1_0Here are some of the major takeaways from the study regarding the behavior and impact of promoters versus sharers:

How they interact on social media:

  • Promoters are more active followers: around half (46%) follow brands on a regular basis, compared to only a third of sharers (32%).
  • Promoters follow brands specifically with the intention of interacting directly with them; this is true for 43% of promoters and only 35% of sharers.

Motivations for interacting with brands:

  • A third (31%) of promoters believe a brand’s reputation is important, compared to only 28% of sharers.
  • Promoters prefer to link a brand to their own personal identify, with 31% saying they feel better about themselves after using a brand; only 26% of sharers say the same.

The impact of these interactions:

  • The friends of promoters in the US talk about brands much more: 43% of promoters see their networks regularly mention brands and products, while only 33% of sharers see this trend.
  • Promoters are much more likely to respond to their friends’ interaction with brands; 35% would purchase a product if it was mentioned by a friend, while only 24% of sharers would do the same.

So what does this all mean for brands?

“Companies need to move beyond collecting likes and retweets with meaningless content,” said Thomas Crampton, global managing director at Social@Ogilvy, in a news release. “Through genuine interaction and content designed to connect with true advocates, companies can drive forward their brand, business and reputation in ways not possible before this era of social media.”

And just how does a brand go about achieving this? Social@Ogilvy has provided another nifty infographic covering five key concepts: moments of truth; inspire; measure; precision; and bond.

We’ll just leave this here.