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Lithium Unveils The State of Social Engagement 2016

Lithium Unveils the State of Social Engagement 2016

Study Shows Brands are Failing on Social Media 

SAN FRANCISCO - March 23, 2016 – Lithium Technologies today announced the State of Social Engagement 2016, a study that examines whether brands are using social to engage effectively with customers. The results are alarming, with only two percent of brands consistently responding to customers’ online posts and less than 40 percent ever engaging with follower content. Combining hard numbers with human analysis, the State of Social looks at eight industries and 85 Fortune 1000 companies to determine how strategic and effective brands are across their social communities and channels.

“Simply having a presence on social does not automatically mean you are getting it right,” said Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium Technologies. “The promise of social for brands has always been the chance to directly engage with customers, but as these results show, most brands and industries are coming up short. Engaging customers is a critical priority, and if you fail, you risk losing an entire generation of customers.”

Conducted by ComBlu in partnership with Lithium, top study findings are as follows:

  • 95 percent of brands’ social strategies are stuck in antiquated “broadcast” mode
  • 96 percent of brands are not tapping influencers across channels
  • Only six percent of brands are using storytelling effectively, with the remainder relying on “random” one-off posts
  • Only two percent of brands consistently respond to their followers’ posts across social channels
  • Less than 40% of brands ever ask questions of their followers or engage with follower content

“Brands must mature and drive real engagement across their social communities and channels,” continued Tarkoff. “Those who are getting it right – like Pfizer, Microsoft, FICO and Sephora – are building strong relationships with customers to capture cost savings, increase revenue and drive the most important outcomes for their business.”

In addition to analyzing individual brands, the study also ranked the performance of the eight industries studied. Overall, retail scored the highest as a vertical with superb storytelling, active community engagement and strategic use of channels. At the other end, pharma’s low score is attributable to it being a highly regulated industry. The rankings are as follows:

          1. Retail 

          2. Telecommunications

          3. Consumer Products

          4. Travel & Hospitality

          5. Financial Services

          6. Media

          7. Technology

          8. Pharmaceuticals 

The full report can be accessed here and an infographic highlighting the study findings is here.


The report rated select Fortune 1000 brands across branded online communities as well as five of the most popular social channels used by consumer brands to engage with customers: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

About Lithium: Lithium builds trusted relationships between the world’s best brands and their customers, helping people get answers and share their experiences. Customers in more than 34 countries rely on Lithium to help them connect, engage, and understand their total community. With more than 100 million monthly visits over all Lithium communities and 750 million online profiles scored by Klout, Lithium has one of the largest digital footprints in the world. Using that data and the company’s software, Lithium customers boost sales, reduce service costs, spark innovation, and build long-term brand loyalty and advocacy. To find out how Lithium can transform your business—and to share the experience enjoyed by 300 other leading brands around the world, visit, join our community at, or follow us on Twitter @LithiumTech. Lithium is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco.

The Lithium® logo is a registered Service Mark of Lithium Technologies. All trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.

Lithium Media Contacts
Eddie McGraw, Corporate Headquarters & Global
+1 (650) 430-1978
Katrina Estrella, Corporate Headquarters & Global