Activating the Masses
In the past couple of years brands have scrambled to “get social.” They’ve created Facebook pages and created millions of fans, and generated tweets to thousands of followers. Their YouTube channels sometimes have thousands of subscribers. The blog is seeing steady traffic. Great! They really get it, right?
Sure they do, until someone asks what all the fans and followers mean… What’s the point?
Many brands get caught up in increasing their fan and follower count. They forget that without some higher purpose, there really isn’t a point. In addition to building a network of enthusiasts, companies need to think about what’s in it for their fans.
- It starts with dialog. The brand needs to interact with their fans and followers. People are inherently social creatures, so interaction typically earns a deeper level of engagement. While it is certainly important to initiate dialog, it is equally important to listen and respond to encourage conversation.
- Regular interactions lead to advocacy. The conversation has started, so keep it going. Once your consumers have started talking, they will likely want to continue talking. Activating consumer word-of-mouth indicates a strong level of advocacy. Research shows that an increase in product “cues,” or mentions, is directly correlated to an increase in purchase patterns of the product. The recent Old Spice Guy campaign is a great example of this, with their recent campaign increasing sales by 107% in just one month.
- Call your fans to action. Once your brand has established a strong sense of community across your social presences, seek to unite and mobilize those fans and followers around a common purpose. That purpose could be something philanthropic, like the American Express Members Project, or something that simply strengthens the brand-to-consumer relationship, like the Redbull Stash initiative.
Most importantly, as companies shift budget towards social, it is vital to keep the ultimate purpose of any media in perspective. Whether that is moving units, selling products, or other revenue generating activity. As your company is developing a social media strategy, keep in mind how you’ll build your “community of common interest” and mobilize them. Meanwhile, keep the fan count in perspective.
What’s more valuable to you: 100,000 super-engaged and participating fans or 1,000,000 fans that could care less?