Are Facebook ‘likes’ a measure of customer loyalty? - Infographic

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Brand loyalty and likes for Facebook brand pages

Here at FreshNetworks we are big advocates of the concept that engagement makes for a better metric than the number of ‘likes’, and this infographic by Our Social Times provides a thought-provoking reminder to brands as to the reasons people declare themselves a fan. (Click the image to see it full-size).

Customer loyalty is the top consumer motivation for ‘liking’ a brand’s Facebook page. This is closely followed by the desire to keep on top of brand news and to receive rewards for engagement.

So you ‘like’ us, now what?

The crucial element is what happens after fan acquisition - converting this initial interest into long-term engagement.

Research into fan engagement suggests that only 1.3% of fans are actively engaged. The reason for this low figure? Brands are failing to deliver fans with what they expect, such as offers, interactions with other fans, and customer service. When you consider that on average, a page’s updates are only visible to 17% of its audience, it becomes even more important to provide a reason for fans to engage.

Give something back to your fans

I would not suggest that all brands use their Facebook page to distribute exclusive offers; this would not, for example, work for a luxury brand aiming to avoid diluting the value of their marque. It does show, though, that fans expect something in return for their loyalty, and they can be rewarded in other, exclusive ways, such as through receiving special content before anyone else.

…but don’t overload them

Knowing your audience and offering content that means something to them is crucial - irrelevant updates will just lead to fans “unliking” your page, however what is even more of a turn-0ff is when a page posts too often. This is where taking an analytic approach to your social media management is crucial - understanding the type of content that really connects with your fans, and the best time to post it, means that your efforts will go much further, and so will your levels of engagement.

Want to learn more about the science of social media?

Matt Rhodes, our Strategy Director, will be sharing his social media expertise in two free webinars:

  • 9th May - How to Analyse & Optimise Your ROI
  • 20th June - How to Identify and Reward True Advocates

Visit the Our Social Times page to view more details and register your place.

People do not want to create content for your brand

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“Why would customers want to create content for our brand?” is a question we commonly come across at FreshNetworks. The truthful answer is often  “They don’t”. In fact, the question is the wrong one altogether.

Customers don’t want to create content for your brand and we see this with many unsuccessful uses of social media by brands. But customers will create content, and they will do it in a way that is really beneficial for you and your brand, but they are not necessarily doing it to help you.

Understanding motivation for doing anything is important, and this is especially true of social media. You may want consumers to show you lots of photos of exactly how they pack their children’s lunchboxes so that you can better design what you sell to them. Or you may want them to comment on and Like your posts on your Facebook page so that they and their friends will be kept up to date with what your brand is doing. But their motivation for doing this will rarely (if ever) be to help your brand. They are likely to do it for other reasons, and it is these that you need to uncover, before you plan any tactic or campaign, if it is really going to work.

There are many reasons people will choose to engage with you online, and many reasons that they will help you to achieve the aims that you have with your use of social media. The important step is to explore first of all who it is you want to engage in social media, and then to answer to simple (well actually not so simple) questions:

  1. How engaged are they with us right now
  2. What do they want from us

Probably exploring current relationships and motivations will let you understand what kind of engagement you can have with people in social media. This is not a one-way relationship; you can’t ask them to do something for you and then expect them to do it. You have to ask them to do something because they want to, something where it is clear what’s in it for them.

It may be that your target audience is looking for advice on how to pack the healthiest lunch for their children, or that they are looking for new ideas of what to feed them. Understanding this helps you to curate an environment in social media where they will be happy to do what you want (send you a photo of the lunchbox so you can better design what you are selling to them) but also provide them with what they want. You can provide experts on nutrition who will compare before-and-after shots of lunchboxes, or you could get mums to share their favourite lunchbox recipes. In both these cases the photos are gathered, just as you need for you brand, but not because you ask for them. Rather, because you engage with people online and they benefit too.

People do not always want to create content for your brand. They do, however, have many other needs that will lead to the same outcome for you. Proper time spent planning and investigating who you are looking to engage and what their motivation is is time well spent. It will help you to understand what both parties will get out of any engagement, and help to ensure that your campaign is not one of the many examples of social media where people really don’t want to engage with you.

The photo in this post is from the great Things real people don’t say about advertising

Why you shouldn’t join every conversation about your brand online

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Keep calm and carry on
Image by scottroberts via Flickr

When brands start social media monitoring, the ability to get real-time alerts whenever your brand is mentioned can be enlightening. Your inbox is suddenly filled, almost in real time, with every mention of your brand. The good, the band, and the ugly. The temptation can be to respond to all of these. To counteract every negative comment. To respond to and then spread every positive experience. To answer and resolve every question. This is only natural for people who care about the brands they work for. But the best approach is often not to respond. In fact, in many if not most instances, a brand should not respond to people talking about it online.

The real benefit of social media monitoring for brands is that it allows you to be aware of and listen in to conversations that you might not have known were going on otherwise. People who express their frustration with your product but would never have told you, advocates telling others just how great you are, or people sharing useful feedback and product development ideas. It’s great to see all of these things and the temptation is to respond. But more often than not, the best thing a brand can do is to not respond.

Doing nothing is often the most difficult thing to do. But it is often the right thing to do. If you overheard two people ranting about your brand on a train you would be unlikely to interrupt. If you heard people talking in a cafe about great customer service they’d received from your team you would probably listen, feel proud and let them tell each other how great you are. There is no need to interrupt in these cases. A rant is probably just a rant and there is little you can do to change this. And people being positive are probably doing lots of good for you on their own without you needing to add anything. Whilst things are different in social media - notably that the comments can be seen by a much larger audience and that they are archived and searchable. But often the same rules apply.

If you have nothing to add, don’t say anything, and if you will only inflame a situation then stay out of it

Overall, brands should be careful about engaging online and have a clear process of when to respond, and when not to respond. There are two very clear cases where a brand should always step in:

  1. Where an actual customer service complaint is being expressed - you should step in to respond to this, pointing people in the direction of where they can get support or dealing with this complaint through your existing channels.
  2. Where incorrect things are being said about your brand, products or organisation - you should correct the incorrect messaging that is being spread and answer any questions

In all other instances you should be more circumspect about getting involved. You should have a simple process for reacting and responding online and use this to help guide you. But overall you should do nothing more than you do something. Monitor, report on and learn from everything people say about you online. But don’t feel the need to get involved in every conversation.

Brands 50% more popular than celebrities in social media

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260/365 Follow Us on Twitter
Image by Mykl Roventine via Flickr

Internet users in the UK are more likely to follow brands in social media than they are to follow celebrities. A study of over 1,000 internet users (by the IAB, Opinion Matters and RMM) found that whilst only 13.4% of users follow celebrities, more than one in five (20.3%) follow brands. Brands are, therefore more than 50% more popular than celebrities in social media. This is good news for brands and shows the benefits they can get of using social media and using it well. But it also reinforces the importance for all brands of getting a social media strategy in place.

The research also showed than more than one in eight UK consumers have given feedback to a brand or organisation in social media. That is more than half of those who say they are following a brand in the first place and shows that, when consumers are following brands in social media, they are also likely to interact with it.

Another way to ‘interact’ with a brand in social media is not to follow it or to give it feedback directly, but to complain about it in a public arena. The survey found that 7.7% of UK consumers had done just this and in 40% of cases brands had responded rapidly to these complaints and comments. Getting your social media monitoring in place is important for brands as it helps you to find and, if appropriate, respond to mentions and such complaints. The research also shows the benefit of brands monitoring and responding like this - almost four out of every five (77.8%) people who were contacted by a brand were left with a positive feeling about the brand.

So consumers are more likely to follow a brand than a celebrity. Of those who follow a brand, more than half will interact with it and give it feedback. Consumers are also complaining about brands and organisations through social media, and those who receive a response from the brand through the same medium and highly likely to leave with a positive feeling about that brand.

In an environment where we know that most people will happily consume, and be influenced by, discussions and comments. The number of UK consumers actively discussing and feeding back on brands in social media is relatively high, and underlines how critical it is for all brands and organisations to address how they are using social media and to make sure they are using it in a way that makes sense for them, and adds value to them as well as to their audience.

Consumers in brand communities 71% more likely to purchase (Universal McCann)

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Universal McCann have just published Wave5 of their Social Media Tracker. It provides a great snapshot of social media usage from around the world. The overall report is useful for brands and social media agencies alike and provides particular insight to people planning multi-national soial media strategies.

Among other things, they asked internet users if and why they join brand communities (see diagram below). And found that those who had joined brand communities were 71% were more likely to make a purchase as a result.

This backs up what we have found with clients in a range of industries and shows the power that online communities can bring to brands.

Why people join brand online communities (McCann)

Why people join brand online communities (McCann)

The report is well worth a read and is Required Reading from FreshNetworks this week. You can find a full version to download here.