Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Nov 3, 2014

Brands, your social-media strategy may be deluded

SHANGHAI - Most brands are targeting an archetype of social-media users called self-affirmers that form only 12 per cent of the social-media population, according to a report by OMD China and IFOP Asia.

Brands, your social-media strategy may be deluded

The 'Dive Social' report finds Chinese social-media users, regardless of which platform they use, fall into one of four types according to motivation:

  • Social Integrators (56 per cent) maintain relationships via social media accounts, but engage less with brands as their main purpose is to cultivate social connections.
  • Pleasure Seekers (19 per cent) seek stimulation and fun from new experiences. They shop online more often as it caters to their innate need of immediate pleasure.
  • Smart Controllers (13 per cent) are highly pragmatic and use social to ensure efficiency in their social relationships and manage their daily chores.
  • Self-Affirmers (12 per cent) demonstrate their individuality and see social media as a means to showcase themselves (like selfie-aficionados) and strive for more.

The last archetype is what brands have been targeting, but it is the smallest portion, evidently. The infographics below detail the habits of the other three.

Covering seven cities across tier 1, 2, and 3, OMD China's report investigated the motivations for using social media to quantify what they have been telling clients—that they should not focus only on usage.

Yes, WeChat has climbed to 438 million monthly active users and everybody's gotta use it, but brands should optimise their interactions with consumers by understanding social context, argues the agency. Also, despite the proliferation of WeChat, the Moments feature is used far less than thought. Most people spend five hours a day on WeChat but only 2 hours on scrolling through WeChat Moments.

It challenges conventional social-media planning practices where brands plan based on demographics, channel or platform, which "focuses on everyone and no one", said Ali Kazmi, head of Social@OMG at Omnicom Media Group China.

Motivational behaviour has been historically derived from Western theories like the Maslow's hierarchy, he said, and if you can put a value to the exchange between two people on social media, it does not matter which channel or platform that exchange takes place. "So far, we have overlooked the motivations behind the 1 per cent of real influencers that will impact the 99 per cent of the silent majority. It's the only thing that matters in social media marketing," he said.



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