Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who cares if you have 500,000 Fans on Facebook and 700,000 Followers on Twitter?

Note: This is a guest post by Will Fraser - Director of Marketing at YUPIQ

When was the last time Fans or Followers contributed to your bottom line or increased your stock price? There is no question that the most influential sales tool for any company is a referral; when a customer just can’t help but tell their friends about how good their product is. We have all been around the preverbal water cooler when a friend mentions a great movie, a cool new place for food or tells us about the latest electronics. Oddly enough the next time we are in the market for these items we seem to tend towards our friend’s suggestions.

In marketing we call this kind of behavior a referral and we know they are more trusted than any ad, expert opinion or celebrity endorsement we could ever buy. However, marketers have been slow to adapt this kind of thinking to work on the social web; the digital heartland of sharing, talking and referring.

The reason social media was created was to interact with your friends. This presents a huge opportunity where companies can gain far more than when Fans just submit photos of themselves to win a trip to Hawaii or whatever the next contest is. Through games and teamwork, it is possible to encourage followers (Brand Advocates) to have friend-to-friend conversations about your brand in a positive light whether it’s for a contest, VIP Passes, Discounts or just general satisfaction.

It’s true that 95% of people who “like” a page never return and never engaged with the brand again. However, by utilizing established social media communities, companies can encourage the conversation, reward advocates and get their online communities to finally contribute to the bottom line.