Last month, we posted about how brands are beginning to more frequently promote Facebook or Twitter pages in their advertisements.  Well, we recently found even more data pointing to the increased importance of social media in conducting business online.

Nielsen data reveals that social media usage has increased 43% in the last year, meaning that the average rsrson now spends 23% of his or her daily Internet time on various social media sites (the largest percentage of any category of online activity).  Data also suggests that Facebook is becoming more of a destination than a traffic source, indicating that consumers prefer to read news, watch videos, and interact within Facebook rather than being redirected to an outside site — even one owned by a trusted brand.

So, what does this mean for brands?  It’s becoming more important than ever to protect your brand in the social media space.  With Facebook as a destination, Internet users are increasingly likely to seek out branded content within the confines of the social space.  However, Facebook and other social media platforms still have a long way to go in developing mechanisms that protect trademarks, meaning brands must take responsibility for diligently monitoring their own names.  Additionally, the informal, community-style structure of the Facebook interface allows individuals who are not associated with a brand to start a group or page that reflect their personal opinions of that brand.

While there is no way to completely control conversations about your brand within social media — nor should you attempt to do this — owning your brand’s name and various trademarks as usernames can ensure that users know where to find official and branded content.  Far too many brands have lagged behind on laying claim to their trademarks, division and product names, etc. as usernames, resulting in consumer confusion and negative publicity (need we re-visit the @BPGlobalPR incident?).

The take away for today is that social media is becoming a significant factor in how we seek out and consume content.  Brands need to make sure they are findable on various social media platforms if they wish to be part of the ever-evolving cycle of information consumption.

Josh Bourne
Destination: Facebook

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