One of my biggest pet peeves is when brands say, “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter.”
Okay, so let’s say I am enough of a sheep to heed your call. Now what? Does my liking or following you just leave me open to receive persistently impersonal and pushed messages that have been carefully crafted by marketing and PR? Or, are you actually going to have a conversation with me? Do I get free stuff or discounts or access to insider info and sales?
What is my incentive?
Businesses often focus on driving up the number of followers and fans, and once they dump a sufficient amount of their budget into Facebook and display ads, they’re unable to answer the “what happens next” question. What are they going to do with that captive audience? How will they sustain the conversation, foster loyalty and word-of-mouth and ultimately churn out some revenue?
I’ve seen so many brands try to run sweepstakes and contests and give away free shit in order to win more fans. I’ve also seen those brands experience a high abandon rate post-contest once the freebies stop flowing. Do not make giveaways the foundation of your strategy!
From a consumer perspective, here’s what I’ve seen work:
- Tell me why I need to let you into my social circle and follow/like you. Setting expectations upfront will help avoid the post-contest abandonment problem. Although I don’t really care for Mountain Dew, they’ve done a nice job of telling you on the Facebook landing tab WHY you need to be a part of their community.
- Don’t just give me a one-time incentive to get me to push that “like” button… keep engaging me over time.
- Don’t talk AT me, talk to and with me. Talk about things that interest ME, not just items that are on your marketing agenda. Ask me what I think. I’m full of great opinions and ideas that could help you out. Skittles – from wall posts to videos to custom tabs – provides a good example of how to generate fun content that is consistent with the brand (check out their interactions – the likes/comments on each post are unreal!). SparkPeople’s Twitter account is another fabulous example.
- Encourage me to bring my friends to the party. Make it easy for me to do so and help me give them the proper incentive to like you too (without making me feel like I am being salesy and pushy with my friends).
- Provide a clear and obvious way for me to buy from you if I feel so inclined (but do not push me to buy at every opportunity). Rogue Bakery’s “Shop Now” tab is an excellent example of this.
- Thank me for my participation, opinions and business. It’s nice to feel needed.
In terms of driving fans/followers, who else does it well? Who does it not so well?
UPDATED as of 4:50 pm:
As a little food for thought, I thought it might be useful to post the list of “How and why Facebook users interact with brands” (via Mashable):
- 40% to receive discounts and promotions
- 39% to show my support for the company to others
- 36% to get a “freebie”
- 34% to stay informed about the activities of the company
- 33% to get updates on future products
- 30% to get updates on upcoming sales
- 29% for fun or entertainment
- 25% to get access to exclusive content
- 22% someone recommended it to me
- 21% to learn more about the company
- 13% for education about company topics
- 13% to interact