Is there an obsession with getting as many followers and likers?
A popular misconception among digital marketers today (especially the late adaptors) is that likers and followers are the end goal of their social media assets. For them, having thousands or millions of page followers is equal to brand awareness and successful online marketing.
But what they don’t realize is that there are more significant factors in measuring social relevance.
Why the numbers game isn’t working
Almost half of Filipinos have access to the internet and social media, making us one of the most obsessed countries with the internet. According to We Are Social, as of 2016, the Philippine internet penetration rate is 46 percent of the total population while social media users stand at 47 percent. In fact, the average Filipino spends 3.7 hours browsing his social media.
Unfortunately for some marketers, this behavior translates into their need to bombard their audiences with multiple daily posts and boosted content as a form of advertising. What they usually hit amiss is the complicated behavior that goes into these platforms the moment a user logs in.
According to a study by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haelein, the idea of social media first began with the concept of blogs. In the late 1990s, Bruce and Susan Abelson launched Open Diary, the first online community that was then launched for writers. Innovations in internet speed and availability then gave birth to the first social media websites Myspace and Facebook which were targeted to the general public.
Now, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram help brands engage with their audiences through free-flowing content that’s relevant and interesting to the market. Social media then is not about volume of content or pretty visuals, but on building and enriching communities – it’s definitely not for showing off your company’s anniversary and product prices.
Making a community out of your Facebook likers
What makes a social media community? Is it stealing your competitors’ audiences? Is it harping on your brand’s popularity and longevity in the market? The online world is much more complicated and it plays on a different set of rules that few have mastered. But the most important thing a newbie digital marketer needs to remember is that communities thrive on content. And in making content, the audience always has to come first. For your content on social media to work, here are few rules to follow:
Develop a brand story that resonates with your audience and cascade it on your social media. Coca Cola advocates happiness and this is translated across all their advertising assets—even online. Red Bull is all about extreme sports and they show it well in their Facebook posts.
PhilCare, a Comm&Sense client, promotes wellness as a part of Filipinos’ day-to-day lives. These are brand storytelling at its finest. Their Facebook posts aren’t about the prices of their products; it’s about living the brand story in real life as told on social.
Never ever sell. In fact, forget about it altogether. Social media is not the space to advertise your products’ prices. In fact, online users are repelled by it. The audiences are calling the shots here and what they want are puppy videos and memes, not your pricelist. If you want to sell, build an online shopping platform or eCommerce on your website. That way, you can easily target those with the intent to buy, while the rest of your site visitors are busy browsing your site without unwanted ads and disruption.
Don’t be afraid to advertise. Online audiences are smart and they know when the ad they’re seeing is an unabashed sales pitch—but, they will click and go where you want to take them if you give them something they want to see. The key is to build a rapport between you and your customer, so the next time they see a sponsored ad, they see it the next natural step on your online relationship.
Talk to your audience. Now this is probably the hardest to do since some marketers translate this as talking over their audience. It’s true that your fan pages are all about you because it’s about your company and should be about your company, but the platform you’re in is about everything else about the world—what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s going to happen next. You can’t spark a conversation if you’re just going to talk about you, you, and you.
Remember: digital advertising is not re-purposed advertising. Neither is it a popularity contest anchored on blindly gathered numbers. You can go about flaunting your numbers but the time will come that you will have a lot of explaining to do to management.
How is your Facebook page engagement? Share them in the comments and trade insights and tips with other digital marketers.