The social media obsession with large numbers of followers and fans is so 2010. It is clear more than even that as people, groups, companies, and brands all jump into the social media space, the issue of quality over quantity is more important that anything else. We had said this a while back in 2009, when Twitter was more fun and Facebook less brand-like.
Now that these two social media icons as well as a small number of other networks have grown in mainstream acceptance, just like a frothy latte, the time for the cream to rise to the top is critical. (Pardon the bad metaphor, it’s Saturday morning!).
So, the whole issue of engagement and enduring relationships is the goal EVERY social media profile should achieve. This maxim would also apply to brands more than ever. Social media is not, and never will be, a quick shot of whiskey at the bar, it is a long enjoyable meal, with several rounds of drinks at the beginning, a few appetizers, some killer first courses, don’t forget the dessert, and the mandatory after party!
The point is this: for any brand (or individual) to stand out in a growing and very crowded universe, you MUST take the extra few steps to establish a real and authentic presence online. This includes (wait for it): spending real time to WORK your profiles, meet real profiles, chat, be respectful, get to know your followers, and as my man Ted Rubin has been saying: FOSTER REAL RELATIONSHIPS ALWAYS. Sustain them. Nurture them. And guess what, everyone? That takes hard work.
Luckily for everyone, the social media giants are giving us free tools to achieve this. Don’t get us wrong: we know Facebook is king, and it looks like it will still be king for a while, but one of the biggest problems with it right now is that EVERYONE IS ON IT. When a local deli is on Facebook and the deli puts its Facebook page on its menu, you know that Facebook is a part of life. So now, users on Facebook are inundated with Facebook Fan Pages. It has become a silly quest for numbers when it fact the ONLY STAT THAT MATTERS IS THIS ONE:
How many people are talking about you right now on Facebook?
That one little Facebook stat in a Facebook Fan Page is all that matters. If people aren’t talking about you, then you are just wasting your time. If at any moment of the day, you don’t have at least 5% talking about you organically, it is time to change your strategy.
Sure, even if you are a large Facebook Fan Page with large numbers, you can offset such a low engagement percentage, but wouldn’t anyone want to increase that percentage? Don’t you want to go from say 2.5% percent (which is a really low number in the grand scheme of things) to say, 5%? And wouldn’t you want to do it organically (not through PAID links and clicks and advertising)? That would be an 100% increase in your engagement.
When I formed Latino Rebels early last year with about 20 other social media influentials who understand what best practices are, we really worked hard to build relationships with our fans. Our Facebook presence was key to our company strategy.
We are happy to say that by BEING THE CONNECTOR and BUILDING SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIPS, our current Facebook engagement rate has ranged from 20% to 25% in the last four months. As we grow our Facebook presence, we build it slowly and organically, and it is actually incredibly fun to see how many of our Facebook fans now comment and more importantly, post on our Wall to share content that we eventually might cover for our main website.
UPDATE, January 18, 2011: And once in a while, we hit a blackjack. Latest stats from LR on FB:
That level of engagement takes hard work, it takes time, and most importantly, you cannot be lazy about it. Whenever someone comments on our Facebook posts, the Latino Rebels respond to those people. If there are long threads, we are part of that thread, encouraging people to comment, asking them questions and connecting in a truly authentic.
Because of this, LatinoRebels.com and the entire Latino Rebels social network have quickly become a destination point for a very desirable demographic. Our numbers are not only growing, but our fans are also engaging and opinionated! That is what community is all about. That is why we love social media, and if brands don’t wake up and understand this, eventually people will tune out and just see their fake Facebook pages are forced, opportunistic, and not authentic at all.