One of my favorite sources of information regarding the relationship between social media and branding is Digiday (  In a recent post with the title “Millennial media-consumption habits explained, in 5 charts,” the author presented a summary of findings from two recent studies, comScore, Noise|The Intelligence Group’s Cassandra Report and nScreenMedia’s report “What Millennials Want from TV,” which provides insights into understanding the media consumption habits of Millennials.  Why is this important?  Millennials, the generation of 18 to 34 year olds, is the largest demographic in the US with significant numbers in other developed countries. For brands, understanding how this digitally native group consumes media provides insight in planning where and how they should be marketing to this very complex and diverse group.  Some of the more important findings are (1) current affairs and news are very important to this group and the majority rely on social media as the source for this information, (2) smartphones and other mobile platforms are the most popular social media sources, with Facebook leading the crowd followed by YouTube and Pandora, with Snapchat growing in importance, and (3) for news, Huffington Post is the leading source relied on, and interestingly Buzzfeed is growing as a news source.

Knowing where Millennials are looking, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into success.  A 2012 survey of 3000 adult consumers across five international markets conducted by Vanson Bourne produced data showing that  only 26% of these consumers use social media to follow brands, and of those that follow a particular brand only 48% are positive when they see brand communications and 40% said that they would be negative to communications from brands they don’t follow.  And a whopping 65% said they would stop using a brand whose social media communications upset or irritated them.  That all being said, one of the more positive results is that adult social media users are swayed by friends and family — 84% responded that they are likely to investigate brands recommended by F&F, and might even make a purchase.  So the good news is that the “social” in social media is working for brands.

And that’s exactly why brands have to be so careful about their messaging and not doing and saying dumb things that will harm their brand identity, reputation and integrity.