The Pitfalls of the Bribe-Influenced Follower

The Pitfalls of the Bribe-Influenced Follower

42bis-likeenwin-720x340Increasing followers is quite often on the list of objectives for many brands. Considering the fact that building a bigger audience could yield greater marketing reach, it makes sense that marketers look for clever and creative ways to entice social media users to like and/or follow then. Brands should be careful, however, not to make the incentive more attractive than enhancing authentic customer loyalty.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Larger follower numbers look impressive to brands, to their customers and to the competition. Unfortunately, it can also cause marketers to feel unjustifiably confident about brand loyalty. Some might even feel inflated, believing that their tactics prompted significant results. That’s one drawback of being quantity focused, as opposed to quality focused. I’ve viewed business pages that have a large following but very little engagement. What that signals to me is that they’ve invested considerable effort into motivating social media users to follow them and less into building follower relationships.

Conversely, I’ve seen pages that at first glance don’t appear very impressive but, ironically, have a high percentage of engagement. Many of these pages even “violate” what I would deem as essentials for a thriving social media presence such as an attractive cover image, varying post topics, using visually stimulating images with posting and so forth. Despite that, their followers are liking, commenting and demonstrating other behaviors that signify that they are interested. Initially, I scratched my head at this but after a little reflection, it was clear to me.

Because I am familiar with these particular businesses, I actually know that there is much more going on behind the social media scene. I didn’t fully appreciate the impact of these factors until recently. These pages with great engagement were bringing a lot more to the table such as outstanding service, strong customer relationships and community ties, and quality product. In a couple of cases, the owners of these businesses were visible at their establishment and interacting with customers face to face, sometimes on a daily basis. Influences of this nature will obviously bring more than great social media results. Happy customers will support and patronize your business. They’ll be more willing and likely to endorse you, recommend you and spread the good word about you…on social media and out in the world.

There are some fundamental principles in play here. It is basic human nature to want to be acknowledged and appreciated. When brands put the emphasis more on relationships, they are communicating a powerful message to their customers that they care. That trumps prizes…well, in most cases.

I am by no means disparaging the use of fun, creative promotions. I suggest them to my clients all the time. The problem lies in thinking that we can rely solely on this type of marketing to woo customers. When we think about marketing from a more holistic perspective, we wind up with more than just a follower…we build brand loyalty.


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