Ben and Jerry’s

Twenty Two Point Seven

According to Nielsen, people cut down 28% of their emailing and about 15% of their text messaging online between June of 2009 and June of 2010. Interesting, eh? But let’s think about this…WHY did this happen? It’s not like it became harder to do or more expensive, right?

In that same span of time, social media usage went up 43%, which means that in June 2010, Americans spent 22.7% of their online time on social media.


This makes sense if you think about it. Emailing and texting are active ways to receive information. You have to actually get involved in the process of getting or receiving information. But social media allows the consumer to have information pushed to her. Let’s say you’re on Facebook, busy stalking your exboyfriend, racking up squirrels to throw at your neighbor on farmville, etc., and your favorite brand announces a sale. They sent you an email, but it will be a few hours before you get around to checking that out. In fact, it might not even happen for a day or two. And even then, your spam filter might have snagged it and you won’t see it until you finally get around to cleaning out your junk email drawer, which if you’re anything like me, might take a year or three.

But if your favorite brand also posts the information on its Facebook page, the sale information is pushed to you. While you’re already online. Where you can actually do something (like, oh, I don’t know…make a purchase or something).

No more email for Ben and Jerry, it is all about the social media.

Something like ice cream maybe; this trend is so compelling that super brand Ben and Jerry’s did away with email marketing altogether. That’s pretty amazing. They are focusing instead on social media and smart phone applications. That’s how their fan base (read: consumers) prefer to receive and respond to information about Chunky Monkey.

So, what does this mean for your brand? Hopefully you’re already utilizing social media. But showing up is only the first step. Social media is not the same as email. It’s not about talking. It’s about listening and then responding…you know, a conversation. A real one. We all know “those” people at a cocktail party. The only time they shut up is to either take a slug of wine or to fidget as they wait for you to stop talking so that they can continue on talking about their own agenda. Unfortunately brands do that, too. Nobody wants to be THAT guy. Bad breath. Stain on tie. Ginormous piece of pepper stuck between his teeth. Blabbing on and on about who-gives-a-crap.

So here are a few tips:

  1. Remember that it’s a conversation. A two-way street. Listen, then respond.
  2. Be authentic. No faking the funk, folks. If you (or your company) made a mistake, own it and move on.
  3. Be consistent. Surprisingly, this is the one many companies seem to have trouble with. Conversations don’t work very well when dragged out over several days. People move on quickly these days…you need to monitor your social media so that you can engage your consumers. Otherwise it’s kind of like having a customer walk into your retail space during business hours but nobody on your team is there to say “How may I help you?”.

What do you think about this trend? Any predictions what June of 2011 will look like??

Top 10 Sectors by Share of U.S. Internet Time
RANK Category Share of Time
June 2010
Share of Time
June 2009
% Change in
Share of Time
1 Social Networks 22.7% 15.8% 43%
2 Online Games 10.2% 9.3% 10%
3 E-mail 8.3% 11.5% -28%
4 Portals 4.4% 5.5% -19%
5 Instant Messaging 4.0% 4.7% -15%
6 Videos/Movies** 3.9% 3.5% 12%
7 Search 3.5% 3.4% 1%
8 Software Manufacturers 3.3% 3.3% 0%
9 Multi-category Entertainment 2.8% 3.0% -7%
10 Classifieds/Auctions 2.7% 2.7% -2%
Other* 34.3% 37.3% -8%
Source:Nielsen NetView – June 2009-June 2010
*Other refers to 74 remaining online categories visited from PC/laptops
**NetView’s Videos/Movies category refers to time spent on video-specific (e.g., YouTube, Bing Videos, Hulu) and movie-related websites (e.g., IMDB, MSN Movies and Netflix) only. It is not a measure of video streaming or inclusive of video streaming on non-video-specific or movie-specific websites (e.g., streamed video on sports or news sites).