Where Have All The Likes Gone?
As a consumer in America and increasingly all around the world we are more connected than ever. Brands on Facebook have millions of followers, celebrities have what amounts to a small country following their every thought on twitter, Pinterest has us sharing every crafty thing we can get out hands on, and Instagram has convinced us that everyone wants to see our “photography” all the time.
Why is it then that some brands and celebrities do better on Social Media than another? Even in the same industry at times.
Take for example Nike, on their Facebook page are 15,436,134 likes & 54,324 talking about this (NIKE). But when you look at the numbers they only have .35% of the people who like their page actually talking about and interacting with them. From the surface it looks like right now Nike is missing out, 99.65% of the likes on their page are not giving them any meaning. Social media is a two way street, and not being able to get traffic to go both ways ends up with a lot of pushing and not much response. What we don’t know though is why those 15 million people liked Nike on Facebook or what they are hoping to get out of the brand. What we cannot account for without knowing the statistics behind the impact from views on the content they post is how many consumers are a passive social media consumer. Rather than interacting with everyone they want to see everything going on and stay in the know. Observing this though, a question to ask is how many of those people might be dedicated Nike fans spending thousands of dollars a year in their stores?
Different industries will have different norms and common similarities between the followers on social media. Many of my likes on Facebook are rival brands, for instance I follow Nike and Puma, The North Face and Columbia, Starbucks and Caribou Coffee, Banana Republic and Levi’s. Today the consumer is a complex individual with loyalties to many brands within the same market.
In comparison in a different industry there is a grocery store in downtown Minneapolis Called Whole Foods, this one location on Lake Calhoun has a local Facebook page. This is a local grocery store with 10,316 likes. This doesn’t sound like a lot in comparison to some companies and brands out there, but this is a grocery store in downtown Minneapolis. That is kind of crazy for a grocery store. But there Facebook page has lead to an increase in their community involvement and increased foot traffic through their stores whenever they post about upcoming events at their location.
If you think about the numbers for that in comparison to the Nike brand, which has 15 million likes globally, which one seems like it might have more of an impact? Perhaps you would say Nike because of the 54,324 people talking about it, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but they are both using social media for two complete different purposes. The whole foods page only has 162 people talking about them right now, in other words 1.5% of those people who liked the page interacting with them. This is quite a bit of a jump from the percentage of those interacting with Nike. How can a grocery store have that much more interaction than a globally recognized brand like Nike? If Nike managed to get only 1.5% of their fans talking about them the number would jump from 54,324 to 231,542. That would be an increase of over 4 times their current level.
The key here is to remember that social media is like any other advertising and marketing tool. Social media is a tool that must be properly understood if it is to be effectively used. It is not an end in and of itself; simply having a social media presence is not enough to be different from your competition. To use it effectively one must understand why and how their consumer is using social media. It is crucial to also understand what they don’t use it for.
Take into consideration why social media is being used; is it to build up awareness of the brand, to get coupons to customers digitally and reduce out environmental impact, is it to test new ideas before pushing them out into larger markets, or is it simply for fun to keep their customers engaged and maintain their market share? Any of these can be a justification to support a social media plan, but without a strategy behind why you are doing something it almost inevitably doesn’t work.
For many consumers today using social media is as much about the experience as it is what we are doing. For a brand to be successful on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or even Tumblr they have to have engaging content, understand why the consumer is interacting and continue to make it a two way street of communication. A misunderstanding of why the consumer likes a page or follows a twitter account can lead to losing followers almost as quickly as you gain them. Social media is not a short term objective, it is a long term commitment, and those who commit to this relationship we have today always end up coming out on top in the end.
The whole point here is to put in the effort and try your best to reach your market, respond when they reach out and be patient, with enough time you’ll be rewarded with even more loyalty to your brand.