Facebook rolled out new rules at the end of 2014 that discontinued the “fan gate”. Some saw this as a negative, but we felt the Facebook fan gate updates was an overall positive thing. We believe it will help marketers and businesses focus on using Facebook (and more broadly, all social networks) to drive things that help their business reach its overall business goals rather than focus on the raw number of likes and followers.
The Facebook changes ignited a great discussion highlighting important considerations that all business owners and marketers need to focus on: what’s the value of a social network “connection”? Lots of us have been sucked into the romanticized vanity metric of total likes and followers on both personal and professional accounts. In a lot of ways the marketing world has put an emphasis on how many followers and likes we have and equated them to success.
But social is evolving. Yay!
Analytics and effectiveness are starting to dominate the social conversation. There are great tools available to measure customer and prospect interactions with our social outposts that help inform us if what we are doing has the intended outcomes. While there are still businesses offering to get you 5,000 twitter followers for only $5 (and unfortunately some businesses taking them up on that offer), here are three things you can do to help you look beyond the like, follow and +1 and focus on what matters.
Start by setting goals around social media efforts, making sure they align and roll up to your overall business goals. Are you a retailer looking to increase in-store traffic? Are you a blogger looking to increase your viewership? Are you a SaaS business looking to reduce churn? Your social media goals should help drive results for these higher level business goals. You could realize after setting these goals, that the absolute number of followers and fans doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s the right followers and fans that contribute in the right way.
For every social network you actively participate on or thinking of diving into, ask yourself why. Since you’ve set goals, asking “why” forces you to justify that being on a certain social network will help you meet those goals. If you can’t answer the “why” question, consider whether or not you and your business should spend time there at all. Or, at the very least, you will gain clarity as to what the purpose of being on a particular network should be.
Whether it’s in person or on a social network, nobody likes interacting with other people that seem disingenuous. We have a pretty laid back and casual style at Rafflecopter; hopefully it shows through our website copy and our interactions on the social networks we have an active presence on. The reason? We’re a pretty laid back and casual group of people :) That’s just who we are.
If you’re representing your brand, blog, or business on Facebook… get real. In the words of Mitch Hedberg: ‘If you go to the grocery store and stand in front of the lunch meat section for too long, you start to get pissed off at turkeys. Why? You see turkey ham, turkey pastrami, turkey bologna — somebody needs to tell the turkeys, ‘Man, just be yourself.’ So be yourself, be authentic, & get real.
How you do look beyond your total number of likes and followers? Share in the comments below how you use social media as part of your overall business and marketing strategy.