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Home » Editor's Comment, Engagement, industry research, social media advertising, social media marketing

Your fans are jumping ship. Now what?

Submitted by on October 7, 2011 – 7:07 am2 Comments

Not long ago, all the talk in digital marketing circles was the power of “Like.” Build an impressive following of people who declare they like your company, organization or product and, the thinking went, you’d have a cheap and cheerful network of brand advocates, the type who would enthusiastically follow your daily posts and tell their friends about it, too.

How very naive that all seems today. More research is coming out showing the public is much more fickle and, yes, brutal than we first thought. Turns out they’re growing tired of the daily onslaught of Tweets and Fan page posts that resemble little more than press release snippits and ad copy. They’re doing what was once thought unthinkable: they’re cutting the cord. A marketing firm, Exact Target, sought to quantify this recently in a brilliantly titled piece of research called the “The Social Break-up.” Brian Solis does a great job of summarizing the results of the findings, noting:

55-percent of Facebook users reported liking a brand and then later deciding they no longer wish to see the company’s posts. Half of fans say that they really aren’t even fans as they don’t visit the page or web site after the “Like.” Seventy-one percent of consumers say that they’re now becoming more selective about the brands they like.

In a post from last year, we warned that this mass exodus was inevitable. At the time, we questioned the formula that marketers were relying on most often to pad their follower numbers: freebies and discounts. Simply put, that’s no way to build a lasting bond.
What is a more sustainable formula for success? Meaningful, insightful, human posts. In our work advising organizations and brands on best-practice social content creation we stress the basics.

  • Be informative.
  • Be clear.
  • Be timely.
  • Be human.

To be sure, a stream of marketing messages is a sure-fire turn-off whereas simple self-expression – sharing a photo you’ve taken, an article you’ve read and admired, sharing a genuine observation, or valuable piece of information even if your company didn’t come up with it – will get others to pause and reflect on what you have to say. It’s a way of thinking all brands and organizations will have to figure out in this age where brands and organizations are, to put it simply, publishers. You have to think like a news operation to get people to respond, remember and return. In other words to get them to not just like you, but to care about you.

This is one of the big take-away messages we preach at our Think Like an Editor social content workshops. We’re taking the next one on the road, heading to the Eternal City on October 14th. The details are here. As always, it will be a full day interactive workshop in which we’ll teach you how to turn your company or organization into a full-fledged publishing operation. The focus will be on how to grow your community across multiple markets, across multiple languages. We can guarantee: you won’t feel abandoned.

 

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