I’ve noticed a number of disturbing posts from brands I follow on Facebook lately, and that is to request “I need X number of followers by Monday – please help us and ask your friends to like us!” Said once, it’s kind of… icky. Said repeatedly, downright annoying and embarrassing. This isn’t just coming from small businesses or amateurs. Everyone from major brands who already have a fair amount of followers there, to city governments, to event organizers are making these unseemly requests for no real reason except they WANT more fans.
Some people feel compelled to raise their fans and follower numbers, and often forget about nurturing and interacting with those they already have. One of our clients, Spa Insights, has the following stat they share with clients: “The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.” Even if those numbers are specific to their industry, that likely is similar for others. Think about that, and then think about what it says to your existing fan base when you spend your time (and theirs) begging for new fans.
Maybe it’s job pressure from a boss demanding more numbers, or maybe just ego, but this is not the way to do it. What is truly gained by adding “numbers” to your company’s bottom line? A number is not what we call an “advocate.” True influencers and brand advocates will follow/like/fan you willingly, and they are the most important brand evangelist you can have in a word-of-mouth era, not just showing off some big number to your competitors.
This post has to be short and sweet today, but I found an article I want you to read if you feel the urge for more Facebook interactions and are willing to earn them with a timely and relevant-to-your-audience focus. This article is on converting Facebook fans to event attendees, but the advice is solid for an everyday approach to interacting on Facebook. They recommend to:
1. Solve people’s problems
2. Be a thought provoker, not a thought leader
3. Take action
It’s well worth the read for the detailed explanation of each of those recommendations.
Another short lesson you should read is a negative experience that happened when a well-known coffee brand focused on gathering new fans and not the true value of what that meant, to the tune of thousands of dollars in giveaways that they did not necessarily plan to give.
Finally, some sweet advice from Hershey’s on how they approach Facebook interactions: with awareness, content and agility. Hershey’s has found that letting consumers voice their opinions on their products and just express themselves has enriched both the company and the brand relationship with people who buy the products.
This is what really counts: do you matter to existing consumers, and can their enthusiasm and social sharing result in possibly new customers finding and trying your products or services? You can’t guarantee that with more Likes or bigger fan numbers. That takes time, care and dedication to social media as a true aspect of doing business, not just a flash-in-the-pan marketing tactic you may decide to abandon tomorrow.
Photo credit: creativedoxfoto