Want more ‘friends’ and ‘followers?’

Friday, June 4, 2010

Target your social media efforts by going for quality over quantity

Sacramento Business Journal – by Debi Hammond, Contributing writer, Marketing

Dunkin’ Donuts has 80 percent fewer Facebook and Twitter followers than Starbucks. So it is losing the social media game, right? Well, it depends on your definition of social media success.

If your goal is to be like Ashton Kutcher (he was the first to reach the 1 million “follower” mark on Twitter, even before CNN), then I guess you could consider your social media program a success. However, my recommendation is to focus on quality over quantity.

Besides, what do those 1 million followers really represent for a celebrity? More movies? More money? Or was it simply a bunch of people experimenting with a new medium who now have inactive accounts?

After all, according to a recent Nielsen Online data study, 60 percent of Twitter users quit after a month.

From a business perspective, the question you want to ask yourself is, does having more “followers/friends” equate to having more business and more brand equity? If you want to use social media effectively, then stop “selling” and be more “social.”

Be authentic

The biggest mistake marketers and small businesses make when trying to market their businesses is trying to use social media the same way they do traditional media. Social media is not traditional media and should not be treated the same way.

Television and radio use a “hard sell” approach. It’s one way and directional: “buy me” now. Social media is “social,” meaning people need to be engaged to want and to learn about your product, service or other information. You can, and in most cases, should, use it as an integral part of your marketing campaign, but don’t treat it as a traditional marketing tool.

Social media is about engagement. It’s bi-directional. It’s about providing value. It’s about being authentic. If all you do is tweet about what’s on sale, promotions and the number of “friends/followers” you want, buy an ad because social media is not the place for the “hard sell.”

You want followers that want to follow you. You want followers who are truly engaged in your brand and are following you because of the value you bring to their lives. If you’re wondering what kind of social media marketer you are, take this brief quiz (answer yes or no): See article at the Sacramento Business Journal

  • I mostly tweet or post sales and promotional information.
  • I rarely, if ever, retweet.
  • I follow everyone.
  • I ask for “followers” and/or “friends,” “fans,” etc.
  • I rarely comment and/or post online other than information about my own products and/or services.
  • I let an intern or “young person who ‘gets’ social media” handle my social media marketing.
  • I rarely respond to comments (good or bad) made about my business.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to take another look at your social media marketing efforts.

Engage your audience

With social media, people have to actually like you and want to be connected to you. That is the power of adding social media to your integrated marketing efforts — authentic connection to your audience. And that is something you cannot buy.

According to a recent study by Vivaldi-Lightspeed, even though Dunkin’ Donuts has far fewer Facebook and Twitter “followers” than Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts fans were 35 percent more likely to recommend the brand. Starbucks spends a lot of time “telling” its followers about the superiority of its brand while Dunkin’ Donuts spends more time on promotions that are meaningful to its customers.

When it comes to social media, stop asking for “friends” and become one instead. Are you truly engaging with your audience? Are you providing something of value … to them? When you answer “yes” to those two questions, you’ll be amazed at the quality AND quantity of your “friends” and “followers.”

See article at Sacramento Business Journal

Debi Hammond is president and chief executive officer of Sacramento-based Merlot Marketing Inc. Reach her at debi@merlotmarketing.com.

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1 Comment
  1. Laurent
    June 8, 2010

    Debi,
    I totally agree. Social means there's an ongoing dynamics. A follower is just a follower. It's 'static', the dynamic side being in the listening/talking to...and obviously it's hard to do with 1 millions. Bottom line 1 millions followers has very little meaning.

    Indeed the social web is a patchwork of thousands of smaller social web also called communities. The technology has enabled people who share an expertise/passion to find eachother and share, forming virtual communities that are niche and can be very deep. We have a strong expertise in mapping those communities and found, as examples, 4000 food bloggers, 1000 style/home decor bloggers, 1000 beauty bloggers. Typically, 1% of the community will drive the conversations aka the influencers. Knowing who are those relevant to a business and engaging with them is the best way to
    go. Studies have shown that people coming from their site are 2-4 times more likely to convert than if they come from ad or search.

    Laurent

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