Social Media Is NOT Real Life

Found today a couple of interesting articles/reports about offline vs. online brand conversations and respective sentiment analysis. In most of the cases offline and online sentiments diverge; in some other cases offline and online conversations even show opposite directions. Which is why brands should start to care about offline sentiment analysis as well.

First, Engagement Labs/MIT Sloan researchDeriving Value From Conversations About Your Brand” shows that both online and off-line customer conversations drive purchase decisions – but as we might expect, they require separate marketing strategies. Actually the research found that sales of tech brands (which I assumed would be more influenced by social media conversations) were driven more by off-line conversations than online, while sales of grocery and food brands such as Campbell’s tended to be driven more by social media than by off-line recommendations from friends.

% sales influenced by online/offline conversations by product category, Engagement Labs

Second, this article, again from Engagement Labs, lists several cases where online and offline sentiment diverged – for both politics and brands. It looks like more left-leaning people post opinions on Twitter, which is then not entirely representative of the US (or the UK) overall conservative society. Gillette’s latest brand campaign is another of those cases.

Online and offline negative sentiment, Gillette’s campaign 2018-19, Engagement Labs

The overall conclusion, said with the author’s own words…

the answer is not to ignore social media, which we have proven is often an important driver of business results.  But we can’t generalize from social media to the population as a whole. Rather, marketers and corporate communications professionals need a holistic approach that considers both the digital and the analog consumer reaction

Engagement Labs, April 2019

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