You Are Not The Number Of Likes Your Facebook Page Has! [Guest Post]

A guest post from Kshitij Rihal in which he shares his thoughts on why agencies need to educate brands with best practices and to stop selling on number of likes and followers on social media.

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A guest post from Kshitij Rihal ((Often rant and rave about what’s happening on social media. Love the internet, indie music and biking across the country. I will only stop when I find the perfect cup of tea.)) in which he shares his thoughts on why agencies need to educate brands with best practices and to stop selling on number of likes and followers on social media. The examples that have been used are brands with whom Kshitij is working with.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet” -Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Similarly, your brand is not the number of likes or followers it has.

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The social media landscape in India is constantly evolving with more brands understanding the importance of creating quality campaigns compared to having a social media presence just because everyone else is doing it.

However, the industry is still at a nascent stage where most marketing executives of companies aren’t aware of the true opportunities social media offers and the many dos and don’ts of the various platforms available. It is the responsibility of the agency a brand hires to educate them about social media and set realistic expectations about their brand’s online presence.­­

This is where the industry is mostly going wrong, as Facebook Likes are being sold like a commodity at a cost of Rs. 8 per like or Twitter followers being promised and targets being met by using the much loved #TeamFollowback.

Why should an agency charge a fixed amount for a page like?

This makes the process corrupt, as the agency will mostly play on the fact that the client doesn’t understand Facebook ads intricately and will get the cheapest cost per like so that it can draw a better margin. It will do this by targeting demographics which are easier to acquire and may not be relevant to the brand’s target group(TG) at all.

Here’s a scenario – I am brand X and I am into healthcare. My TG is working professionals living in metro cities who fall in the age group of 30-50. I have rich experience about traditional advertising channels and am keen on starting initiatives on social media, but do not understand it completely. I am approached by an agency which promises me 20,000 likes and 1000 followers every month. I think these numbers are fantastic, and I don’t see beyond them because I’m not aware of anything else. I hire the agency based on these promises.

Imagine my plight when my TG lies in the age group of 30+ and my Facebook page has 20,000 odd likes out of which 74% of the fan base falls in the age group of 13 – 17? Or my Twitter profile which has 5,000 odd followers all of whom are bots and spam.

It gets worse because there are actual agencies which have departments of people dedicated to creating fake profiles and liking brand pages. This is a real life scenario a lot of brands are facing today, and are unfortunately not even aware of it!

Here’s what agencies should ideally do:

1. Don’t take the easy way out and have a long term approach. Generate revenue not by getting likes on a page, but through the execution of quality campaigns. At the end of the day, the right TG will be more responsive to the right kind of content a brand puts on its page. This will help you sustain your relationship with your client and benefit you in the long run. An example over here will be the Facebook page of Dogspot.in, an e-commerce portal for dog and pet products. They’ve done various campaigns where they shared photos of people’s dogs for an entire month, celebrated individual dog lovers and ran a contest where they asked people to send in photos of their dogs surfing the Dogspot website.

It is because of these sustained efforts that they have their exact TG on their page and dog owners continue sharing photos of their dogs with them. This has also made them have a ‘Talking About This’ figure of more than 50% of their total fan base since the last 6 months.

2. Coming to Twitter, it is a platform which allows brands to have real time conversations with its TG. Don’t just sync it to a brand’s Facebook page and have 2-3 generic tweets a day. Set targets by promising unique interactions and engaging contests to a brand. Create a unique personality for a brand on Twitter and don’t just promise irrelevant followers. Twitter has a very mature audience compared to Facebook, and you need to have a different strategy for it.

UpperCrust Magazine is a great example of this. They engage with food bloggers, restaurateurs, chefs, food photographers and everyone else relevant to their TG on a daily basis and have a very active Twitter presence. They generate quality interaction where tweeters start conversations with them about food recommendations, reviews and places to visit.

91Mobiles.com, India’s leading mobile comparison portal is also very active on Twitter. It engages with mobile enthusiasts, mobile bloggers and tweeters looking to buy a phone. It gives objective feedback on phone choices and engages with tweeters about the latest developments in the mobile world. They are an influencer and get regularly tweeted to for phone recommendations or healthy discussions about the mobile world.

At the same time, brands should also realize that mere chasing of numbers is not enough. What is the point of having a million likes on your Facebook page, if these likes are not adding any real value to your business?

It’s time to best utilize what social media is for – giving brands an opportunity they never had before, to engage and interact with their TG in real time, detailed and factual analytics compared to other traditional mediums, create brand loyalists and building a tangible community of people important to a brand.

Slider image courtesy: Etsy