Well here we go. It’s 2012 and if the Mayans are right then we have 12 months to get this social-thing right.
2011 saw the initial desperate desire from brands to be liked or followed and so i thought that a great place to start getting it right is to differentiate between connection and advocacy.
It makes sense to me that as ‘Social Media ROI’ falls under the spotlight the easiest and most convenient demonstrations of ‘return’ are likes and followers.
A number of times we’ve been asked by marketing people to grow their likes to x,000 with incentivised campaigns so they can demonstrate to their CEOs how well the social campaign is going. We generally resist such requests and point out that buying friends is not the way forward.
Imagine you incentivise/invite thousands of people to a party, none of which you’ve previously met. You have them all in a room and you call your CEO and say ‘guess what? we have 8,000 people in a room’…how clever am I? After a short while in the absence of any drinks, food or any real collective reason to be there people start to leave and look for the next incentivised party.
This is pretty much what’s happening in the early stages of brands’ social plays.
This excellent chart from Mark Smicklas’ blog nicely captures the scenario where the vast majority of brands are happy to rest on the measure of low- business value connections
Think of your own friends and why they’re friends. You generally add value to each others’ lives based upon simply knowing them.
So if you want to shift from low value gross connections to massively high value brand advocates there are a couple of common sense, naturally social, steps to take.
- Invest time and money in better understanding what your brand means to them, how you can add value, what their online behaviour might be and begin to identify the influencers.
- Explore pilot projects that involve and engage the influencers which will in turn (given time) generate positive advocacy and build a true community bound together by a common bond….your brand.
The fundamental challenge/barrier for most brands in achieving social media ROI is that they are socially inept. Their ability to share, talk, answer, engage, have a personality, add value or simply give something for free with no obligations flies in the face of the traditional ‘take take take’ convention.
First mover advantage is there to be had in 95% brand categories so please don’t rest on your laurels, become truly social.