Almost every conversation about social media starts with ‘how many fans do your brand have?’. Now don’t get me wrong, everybody (and every brand it seems) wants the adoration of hundreds of thousands of people, but what if they’re liking you for the wrong reason and what if they’re only pretending to like you. Is a deep gnawing sense of unease starting to play at the edge of your mind? How do you know if your fans truly love you and want to make a relationship with you?
Well, short of interrogating each and every one individually and trying to establish their motives, in the world of social media, if they love you, they’re engaged with you. Engagement is the analogy for honest intentions. Engagement says ‘I don’t pretend to love you because 3 months ago you gave me the chance to win a fabulous prize’ or ‘I felt like I should be your fan because all my friends were’. Engagement shows I care and I’m a real fan. I want your content, I want to talk to you and about you with my friends.
Taking this into the real world of customer value, building a base of, for example, 500,000 fans off the back of a couple of big campaigns, makes no sense unless you have an infrastructure and strategy to keep them engaged, as well as an idea of what you want from that engagement.
Engaged fans, that is people those who are interested in your brand, what your brand is offering and critically in the social media environment, those who share content with their friends and invite them to interact with your brand are king. Without them, brands are missing out on the whole marketing raison d’etre of social media. You don’t market your brand to fans – your fans market your brand and your products to their friends.
So how actually is engagement driven? Just put, by offering your fans and followers what they want, a collection of useful content, competitions, exclusives, promotions, opportunities to have their say, and so on. And by offering it to them frequently, in bite sized chunks. It’s that easy. So instead of focusing on just the total number of fans you are having, have a look to know how many of them are actually engaged with your brand.
Therefore, engagement is king. But engagement and fan acquisitions are one and the same thing if you use your advocates to help drive your campaigns. The power of engagement can’t be underrated as a way of strengthening relationships and reliability in your brand, and social media is the perfect platform to serve this. It’s quick, it’s direct, it’s accessible – and moreover, it’s where your audience is already present.
So, is user engagement important for you? Do you consider social media as an important part for your brand? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.