It’s a surprise that I still get briefs from clients where the end objective is to get a ridiculous number of likes on their fan page within a month or so. The brand is not active on the internet and just has a presence (for the sake of it) on social media. But, Facebook is a fad and since you are judged by the number of fans you have, I WANT A MILLION FANS IN THE NEXT 2 MONTHS!
Acquiring a fan is easy. Keeping him a fan is not so easy.
Most brand managers believe that if you have a large fan base it automatically constitutes your reach, but most times brands that have a smaller fan base but a larger engagement ratio tend to be more successful than their counterparts. Simply put, Facebook Fans (Likes) are more a quantitative whilst Facebook Engagement is a qualitative measurement of your brand success. Whilst the quantitative bunch is more of a passive group, the qualitative ones are segregated into two kinds - the engagers and the influencers. The influencers are those that start up a conversation and have people engage in that conversation either through a reply/comment/share of the same. The engagers are those that comment/reply to your conversation. Both, the engagers and the influencers are equally important as they feed off each other.
The effort in engagement vis-a-vis mere fan acquisition is a clear indication why the former is more effective (you know it’s better when the job is a lot more tougher). I believe it’s key to follow a few steps to ensure a path to successful engagement on social media.
Firstly, I believe it’s important to make conversations about what the fans want and not what the brand wants to convey to its fans. Fans do not want to get a sales spiel on social media. Your content on social media needs to cater to the fans’ interest. A good social media agency can communicate a brand message smartly with the right kind of packaging. Secondly, personalise your brand on social media. Listen to your customers and respond to them (responding to negative remarks is most often positively rewarded). Remember, this is a medium for a one-on-one conversation and brand impressions are created or broken here. Thirdly, the brand needs to evolve with technology and trends. Monitor what the fans like and consume. For instance, video consumption is on the rise in India, hence it would make sense to communicate with your fan base through that form of content. If the brand does not have enough video content, it needs to invest in creating video, else the fan will look for that content elsewhere. And lastly, periodic promotions help greatly. All fans like to win stuff and expect the brand to gratify them for their loyalty and time spent on interaction. A promotion every month could be a good hook for the fans to be engaged and interested with the brand.
A brand also needs to trigger conversations across social media to be top of mind and these triggers do not need to be restricted to the online space. Every form of advertising can make this happen. Take the Audi ‘Twilight’ commercial as an example. Notice the conversation trigger at the end of the commercial. It’s simple triggers like the hashtag that made it one of the most talked about commercials during the Superbowl and yet the TVC had its own space alongside the conversations on social media, all forms of advertising co-existing and contributing towards a successful engagement.
Carlton D’Silva is the chief creative director at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough! Find him on twitter@TheWordOfGawd