Social media is changing the way people communicate and the way they network. Hand in hand with this, marketing and dissemination of information is being reinvented. From the business point of view, it has become obvious that the true value of social media lies in the direct connections between two groups of people: People who represent brands and the people who represent themselves.
If it’s Facebook, we keep hearing the number of “fans”, it it’s Twitter, they talk about “followers” as the key performance indicators. Undoubtedly, high numbers of fans or followers have meanings. But all agree now that whatever you do on social media platforms, they do not mean much if that activity has no reflections on the “real world”. Looking from our perspective, such reflections are higher recruits, higher activity rates, higher average order sizes, and the like.
The gap between the activities in the online environment and those in the offline world is bridged to a large extent by “engaging” people. When a person is just a fan or a follower of a brand in social media, s/he is barely more than a number. This is just like a recruit who is not doing anything but residing in the database. On the other hand, according to the survey on 3,000 consumers by Bain & Company, customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more with those companies than other customers. They also demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies. Increasing fans’ engagement levels on social media platforms however, requires well-planning and well-execution. There are various methods that increase engagement that are all beyond the scope of this article.
It has been quite a while now since I was impressed the last time by an executive commenting on how successful they were in reaching a certain (high) number of fans on Facebook. I am much more impressed when I hear cases like Creative Memories (with 60,000 Facebook fans) beating Target (with 4.7 million Facebook fans) in “Minnesota Brand Mandness” challenge or like Avon Turkey being the number one brand in the country when it comes to user-generated wall posts on company Facebook page.