Is Vanity Your Brand's Favorite Sin?
July 10, 2012
[van-i-tee] adjective noun
Excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit:
When a station (or person) boasts about how many "Likes" and "followers" it has or when an advertiser asks that same question because they want to place a "buy," what's really being communicated is that they just don't know what's important when it comes to social media.
The amount of "Likes" or "followers" does not equate to creating brand impact nor does it measure the quality and depth of your fan relationships. It's a vanity metric – that's all it is.
To tell your brand's story socially goes deeper than vanity. It's something that doesn't come easy and that can't be left in just anyone's hands. When all kinds of people are allowed to post on your social accounts, the end result is
"random acts of social" because there is typically no perspective.
Without perspective there is no direction.
This is an area that I'll be addressing for the Radio Advertising Bureau this week during a "Social Media: Revolution and Revenue" webinar.
It's about how advertisers and sales can co-exist on and benefit from station Facebook "Like" pages once intelligence is gained about how these social platforms work and why fans use them.
For example, brands don't reach all of those "Likes" you see in that vanity metric. In fact, Zuckerberg's team admitted earlier this year that the average brand reaches only about 16% of those "Likes."
And here's why:
Facebook's algorithm – the rules set in motion to determine whether or not fans see your posts.
Facebook calls one of the rules "Affinity"
This rule is actually the best proof of showing why traditional marketing methods can destroy a brand's reputation and success in the social space.
With traditional messaging, it's about casting a wide net and pushing out a message.
But with social media platforms, it is the total opposite. It's not about talking to a broad audience and it's certainly not about branding. It's about continuous interplay between fans and brands.
But these principles are not widely understood, and it's why we see messages like this on "Like" pages:
The problem with these posts is that fans typically don't react to "promos" or "ads" and in the social space when fans don't do something with your status updates, they start to become classified as an uninvolved fan, eventually not seeing any of your posts.
What matters on Facebook is something much deeper than that vanity metric of "Likes." It's the "People Talking About" metric right next to the "Likes." That's an idea of how many motivated relationships each brand is actually fostering with their current approach.
There are many other factors brands compete with in regards to reaching people socially and another is basic real estate.
Facebook has found that the average everyday user "Likes" approximately 350 different brands. That means you're competing with about 350 other brand connections for a spot on their Newsfeeds (on top of the personal connections that show up as well.)
So, this is why offering "affinity type value" for fans is critical. You must speak the language of your fans on Facebook – conversational and intimate – and not the language of radio promos and sales pitches.
An analyst at Forrester Research, Sucharita Mulpuru put it best, "[Selling stuff on Facebook is] like trying to sell stuff to people while they're hanging out with their friends at the bar."
It's about affinity and when we contradict the interactive nature of social platforms by not hanging out with our audience, responding to them and speaking their language, we become forgettable in the social space. And that makes it really hard to pull off cool moments with fans or trying to create integrated programs for sales.
It's all about building/maintaining motivated relationships.
Not a vanity metric.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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