We all know the value of social media fans:
- they spread your message through their networks, acting like word of mouth on steroids.
- defend your brand when others complain
- answer consumer questions and share satisfaction about your brand
- influence others to buy your brand
How Social Media Fans Create Value
Social media fans create value because everything they say in social networks echoes throughout their network, expanding quickly.
If you have 1000 followers and they each have 300 followers, you’ve now reached 300,000 consumers. And if just half of these consumers share your message with their network by commenting, sharing, or +1 in your message, you’ve reached 45 MILLION consumers. Transmitting a message that reaches 45 million TV viewers on prime time TV would cost somewhere between $150,000 – $400,000 per 30 second spot. Add another $350,000 to produce the commercial and you’re talking some serious money.
So, we want lots of social media fans and we want them engaged with our brand.
Give Social Media Fans What They Want
How do you create a social media fan?
People become fans because you give them what they want. But, what is that?
Well, you could ask social media fans (fans, followers, circle …) what they want and that’s a good option. But, you’re likely to get either very generic type answers or stuff that’s too granular — I want to see video (generic) or I want to know more about xyz feature (granular).
So, what do fans want?
- They want information — news about your product, how to use it, where it’s available, etc. But, they also want information not specifically about your product, but in a related area. I’m a fan of Howard University, where I work. They only post information related to what’s going on at the university — using it as a PR channel. Instead, they could share information about things going on in DC, where they’re located, or about African Americans, since its an HBCU, or about eduction, in general. They’re missing a huge opportunity.
- They want to be part of a community – opportunities to build a real community are dwindling, but virtual communities (online) are gaining quickly because people like to be part of a community. Firms build a community by allowing others to have a voice in their social networks — for instance asking consumers about features they want in new products. Firms build community by responding to consumers and by engaging fans. Google is doing a good job of this in Google+, forcing Facebook to respond by creating Facebook for Business. Firms build a community by celebrating consumers. Dove is a good example of this with their program celebrating “real women” and campaign for self-esteem. The ads were hugely successful. California tortilla invited social media fans to comment on their new logo, resulting in a stronger fanbase, more engaged fans, and a logo that resonated with consumers better.
- They want to be entertained. So, give ’em a game or a cool ap. Look at the Progressive and State Farm apps for mobile phones. Now, they really don’t do anything all that useful and you’ll likely never need them, but the apps are cool and fun, so the apps are attracting customers. Music, games, video, infographics, and many other tactics make social media more entertaining, attracting fans and business for the firm.
- They want status. Social media fans enjoy being the first to know things — they like the feeling of being in the inner circle. Starbucks offers lots of freebies, advance info on new products, coffee making tips, and other stuff ONLY to social media fans. Of course, fans share offers with their social networks, increasing the reach for Starbuck’s message and building a bigger fanbase. Taylor Swift uploads tracks f to her Facebook Fanpage before the albums are released in the stores.
Did I leave something out? What strategies does your firm use to build a bigger fanbase?
How can your firm use these 4 strategies to build a bigger, more engaged fanbase?