We seem to be infatuated with numbers, even when they don’t hold much value. This is especially notable in the realm of social media.
Many brag about the numbers of their friends or followers. That may be ok on a personal level, but it is akin to high-school where a pubescent teen likes to be seen as a part of the crowd. It is a phase, and it may be a sign of insecurity in some.
Businesses should not be run like they are insecure teenagers. Who is in that circle of friendship is what matters. After all, they can help to define your business success, expand your revenue base and improve your business influence. It is not a numbers game in the end, but rather a question of quality.
The problem for many business leaders is that the numbers matter. They tend to compare them to financial numbers. In that way, it may be better politically to say that you have 100,000 followers rather than 1,000. In retail business, such attitudes can work—but only for the short term. It is no secret that consumers pick popular brands. [bctt tweet=”In the long-term numbers can be misleading #socialmedia” username=”@BroadPR”]
In the long-term, however, numbers can be misleading. You may have 100,000 followers, but if most of them are passive and non-influential followers, it does not make one iota of difference (positive or otherwise) to the brand. Rather, the quality of the followers needs to be improved so that any branding, marketing or engagement exercise can have maximum impact.
Social media offers an opportunity to do this. But simply asking them to like your Facebook page by using a competition will not result in anything. Rather, a campaign designed to retain these customers and groom them into becoming avid consumers will bode very well for your company’s future.
Another reason why a number does not matter in the long-term is that it can be hacked. You can buy a Twitter follower base, or use current events to drive up Facebook likes. Keeping followers active and engaged is where the real effort lies. It is in this area where most brands falter.
To do this right, brands and PR pros needs to think about quality from the onset—not quantity. They need to have the right social media platform and incentives to attract influencers and key customers of your brand, and then engage them via various campaigns. After all, the fact that these customers are already on social media means that they are open to engagement. It is up to the social media team to pique and retain their interest.
Such a strategy should be phased with strong onboarding tactics. It is a common tendency for many followers to become passive after liking a brand, and marketing teams need to keep them engaged with various initiatives.
Such a strategy should also be platform independent. Platform relevance changes over time, especially if you are targeting a younger user base who are more open to trying out new platforms. In fact, they will appreciate that you are as curious as they are in exploring new platforms. At the same time, the messaging must remain consistent to ensure that the brand values are clearly communicated.
Achieving this requires good planning and strategy. It also demands a keen understanding by the brand leaders or marketing managers that numbers are never a means to an end in marketing.