Social media is not a popularity contest so companies
shouldn't gauge success on fan and follower numbers —
at least not exclusively.
In fact, a recent Napkin Labs study reveals that
only a small portion of a brand’s Facebook fans
are actually active on the brand’s timeline. And if
fans are inactive, there is no way they can be influential
to other social media users. Regardless of
a brand’s popularity in the social-sphere, companies
should measure success based on engagement
rates, rather than total audience numbers.
Interactions include shares, comments and
retweets, all of which have a far greater impact on
the metrics that lead directly to conversions (e.g.
site traffic, product views, etc.).
How do you obtain higher engagement rates?
Simple – get more superfans.
The study labels a brand’s most engaged Facebook
fans as “superfans.” This term also applies
to other social sites including Twitter, Google+
and Pinterest, as well as weblogs and forums.
Since companies can leverage any social channel
to foster positive relationships with consumers,
brands should focus on messaging that builds
trust and generates interactions amongst their
most loyal supporters — their superfans. These
brand advocates are not only reliable conversions,
but their interactions also provide companies
with free viral advertising across social sites.
How do you acquire more superfans?
Simple – become one.
Increasing normal fan numbers is difficult
enough, so obtaining a social following that is
packed with superfans may seem like an insurmountable
challenge. A good place to start, however,
is with your brand’s current audience base.
In order to learn how to better engage these people,
become a superfan yourself.
Start by interacting with your favorite companies,
via social networks, for a few weeks. By
becoming a fan, you will undoubtedly walk
away with a better understanding of the value
of not only acknowledging fans, but also posting
For instance, you will learn that some companies
will go out of their way to create quality interactions
with their followers. Tillamook Cheese
is a perfect example. When the Oregon-based
business tweeted a caramel apple recipe, my love
for food (and all things cheese), prompted me to
reply. And it was because of this
interaction that I sought out Tillamook items on
my next grocery store trip.
Conversely, this experiment also reveals how
consumers feel when ignored by a favorite brand.
During my research, I reached out to Burt’s Bees,
which happens to be one of my preferred skin
care companies. Despite multiple communication
attempts, I never received
a favorite, reply or even a retweet from the
company. It should be noted that while I didn’t
pose a direct question, my fellow tweeters who
did (during my experience), also didn’t get any
response from Burt’s Bees.
Chances are I will purchase their products
again, but the experience deters me from interacting
with Burt’s Bees, via social media, again.
Social media is yet another life situation where
the golden rule applies — treat others as you
would want to be treated.
This experiment is far from scientific, but it
will provide insights into how other companies
leverage social networks and interact with customers.
My experience showed me that most
companies attempt to respond to their customers
(albeit some better than others); however the
ones that don’t, stick out like a sore thumb.
Furthermore, the experiment highlights the
pitfalls of nonstop promotional postings. This approach
actually damages a brand’s marketing initiatives,
as followers are demanding more from
companies through honest and direct interactions
(being clever doesn’t hurt either). After all,
relationships (even those on social media) are a
two-way street and consumers expect responses,
even just a like or a retweet would suffice.
This does not mean brands should abandon
promotional postings altogether. Instead,
they should focus on balancing promotions
with interactions that can help increase engagement
rates, the digital recipe for social