Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

Why Isn’t Your Social Strategy Based on Mobile Users?

social media on mobileNo one is asking social marketers to make safe assumptions.  The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is here TODAY, and very real. But with many brands still in “catch-up” or “wait-and-see” mode regarding social, many existing strategies are based on the unsafe assumption social is still a desktop/laptop thing.

Comscore says we in the US spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a pretty rapid clip. Social, along with games and music, dominate mobile app usage, with Facebook the clear #1 for audience size and time spent.

When you drill down to how the individual social networks are predominantly engaged, 98% of the time US users spend with Instagram is on mobile. For Pinterest it’s 92%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook 68%. So taking these kinds of statistics into consideration, an aware social marketer would have no choice but to start thinking about social solely in terms of how it plays out for users on mobile.

Brands and advertisers start doing damage to their company when they comfortably jog far behind real changes in consumer behavior.

And here’s what that behavior looks like. There are more people in this world that own smartphones than own toothbrushes. 4 out of 5 consumers use them to shop. 52% of Americans use mobile for in-store research. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. People that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop/laptop. Mobile offers the best use of hyper-local targeting and context marketing. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.

Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet report brought us some curious figures that illustrate a disconnect between where the public is spending their media time, and how much ad spend goes there. For instance, print usage is at 5% and dropping, yet the spend by advertisers comfortably jogging behind consumer behavior is 19%.

Looking at overall mobile ad market trends, however, things look like they’re heading in a reasonably right direction. BI Intelligence says it will grow the fastest amongst digital options, going over $32.6 billion in 2018 with social leading the way. eMarketer thinks mobile ad spend will surpass desktop PC advertising by 2016, then TV advertising by 2018, with Facebook controlling at least 71% of the mobile ad market.

The conclusion this brings us to is that here in September of 2014, a strategy centered on paid social mobile looks like the smartest play. The relationships you’re building with your customers on social, using the data they’re handing you via social + other enterprise data, with content served up at a time and place of high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Dec 10, 2013

The Year in Facebook: Part 2

2013 smartphoneHopefully you’ve already ready Part 1 of our journey because today we continue our walk down memory lane, pondering some of the bigger moments for Facebook in 2013.

Comment Threads and Ranked Replies

Facebook is all about conversations, right? Turns out conversations don’t necessarily happen in a linear fashion. So in an effort to get more engagement per post, Facebook started allowing replies to specific comments under a post. That makes the conversations threaded and more organized. Also, exchanges that get the most engagement will rise to the top of the post thread so quality content gets the most exposure.

Marketing Milestone

BOOM! In June, Facebook announced it hit 1 million active advertisers.

Embedding. Posts to Go.

Were posts happy staying on Facebook? We’ll never know, because in July Facebook liberated them by letting them get embedded on sites across the web. This meant more people would see Facebook originated content all over the place. Users could also engage the post without ever going to Facebook. In August, the embeds were made even better, with enhancements to mobile experiences and videos that played right in the embed.

Teen Trouble?

Throughout the year, analysts were keeping on eye on whether or not young people were getting tired of, or moving away from their usage of Facebook. As of August, the fastest growing demo was 45 to 54 year olds. Whether or not youngsters were especially turned off by ads, early in the year Facebook altered Edge Rank which resulted in News Feed appearances by brands becoming even more rare. For 13-19 year olds, platforms like Tumblr, Instagram (fortunately owned by Facebook), and Snapchat continued to grow throughout 2013. 61% of teens said Tumblr was their fave social site.

It’s All About Pretty Pictures

It was the summer of imagery. Facebook made millions of pictures from Shutterstock available, free, to use in Facebook ads, fully searchable and available within the ad creation tool. Admins could also do simultaneous uploading and make several ads with several images. Want several users to be able to add to your photo album? Facebook did that too. Up to 50 contributors can share up to 200 photos each. Generating much discussion, the summer was also used to point out to users their likenesses could be used in connection with ads. You can limit how, but not if, you can be associated with commercial content.

After the summer, it was the Fall of BIG images. Page post link ads on desktop went 3.5 time bigger, and images connected to links were 4 times bigger on mobile and 8 times bigger on desktop. Even the Suggested Pages feature got more visual pop in November.

Hey Community Manager, Feel Free to Mess Up!

It was one of the most asked-for features users wanted from Facebook. What if you published a post and it had a big, glaring mistake in it? You couldn’t go back in and fix it. But in September, it was announced you could. And all the people breathed a sigh of relief.

What They Bought and What They Might

Facebook enjoyed much success watching its Instagram purchase flourish. Mobile photos, hashtags, short videos, what wasn’t to like? The absence of revenue for one thing. Ads came to Instagram, looking much like Facebook ads, labeled as sponsored. What kind of ads you see depends on your activities on Instagram and Facebook. The next rumored feature, private messaging.

In October, Facebook reportedly offered $1 billion for Snapchat, apparently having lost faith in their lookalike effort called Poke. CEO Evan Spiegel said no, believing his 350 million photo messages per day will only grow. What the offer did show is Facebook’s commitment to adding the tools young users love. And what they love going into 2014 is sharing photos via mobile, with at least some level of perceived privacy.

What will we see from Facebook in 2014? It’s often said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so we can likely look for further efforts to super-serve marketers leveraging Facebook’s vast social data, the addition of features user behavior exhibits is desired, efforts to make Facebook “stickier,” more mobile-friendly strategies, and more image-based design. And auto-playing video ads.


Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Sep 03, 2013

Content for the Masses…Fails

empty seatsI know, you want all your content to please everybody and make them all want to buy your stuff that instant.  That would be cool. But once we come back from daydream land, we should grasp that all content is not the same. All content is not made for the same purpose. And all content is not made for the same audience.

Have you ever shopped for a car and within 10 minutes of being on the lot were asked by the pushy salesperson, “Hey, what do I have to do to get you in this car today?” Maybe you’re just researching. Maybe you’d like some info or a test drive first. The salesman hit you with the wrong message at the wrong time. His content was not crafted for or aimed at the target.

Annoying, yet as brands, we’re doing this every day, sometimes multiple times a day. We’re making whatever content we can, then throwing it out there to see if anything sticks. Content should be aimed at a specific audience with specific problems, goals, emotions and motivations.

Just as there’s a sales funnel (which has actually shifted into a sales cycle or buying journey), there should be a corresponding content funnel that respects and acts on where the intended consumer of that content is in the buying journey. Do that and you’ll wind up with something you might not have at the moment…a content strategy.

Most organizations do this by developing personas. Note that “personas” is plural. There are a lot of different stages, motivations and variables in the buying cycle. Creating content customized and accurately targeted to each is a huge task…one that comes at a time when most brands are struggling just to create quality content at all.

Which is all the more reason to make sure the content you are going to resource and make will be as effective for you as possible. That means intimately knowing whom you’re talking to via data and social listening tools, learning how likely a prospect they are, predicting through analytics what questions they have, and serving up content that will move them into the next stage of the cycle where further targeted content awaits.

Remember, a significant amount of the decision-making process is already done by the time actual contact is made with the vendor. Customers at the top of the funnel are information gathering, staying in the shadows as much as they can. Their openness to your product and message is quite different here than it would be closer to the sale. Even the wording of your messaging must take into account that prospects have a different relationship with you at each stage, just as in real life.

Six Revisions has a really nice snapshot of
what the content funnel looks like at each stage.

*Awareness: the customer is becoming aware of your company, so content answers very general questions about your space or industry.
*Interest: their curiosity about you is piqued, so content answers questions about the product.
*Desire: they want your product, now content should move it from their wish list to their to-do list.
*Action: they’re doing what it takes to buy it, so content should answers purchase and service logistics.

A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” is the
biggest unscripted show in cable history and close to becoming the biggest cable show in history period. If your content can be mass appeal and that successful, knock your lights out. But for marketers, success means conversion of unaware all the way to purchase, and that takes a lot more personalization.

Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Aug 30, 2013

How Great Social Marketing is Like Football

football fieldWith apologies to our international readers…specifically American football.  The air is charged with excitement and anticipation right now. The long months without the epic battles football provides have ended and our teams are once again hitting the field. I don’t have a football blog, but it did occur to me how much of what I write about social marketing can be compared to aspects of the sport we love so much.

The Draft

This is when teams determine which players on the market will best shore up areas of weakness. Or they might be drafted to position them for big contributions in future seasons. Social marketing managers should stay aware of who the hot prospects are and do the courting necessary to get them on the team. You aren’t doing content creators and social marketers a favor by hiring them. Everybody wants the good ones.

Training Camp

This is where players are conditioned and learn the plays. In social marketing, there’s training to be done in terms of making sure everyone on the team knows the strategy, policy, rules and goals. You don’t draft players then just say, “Okay, now go play.”


During training camp, players who don’t pan out wind up getting cut. In social marketing, I’m not talking about cutting people as much as about being willing to cut practices, tactics or tools that just aren’t working. You might be attached, it might not be easy, but it’s what you need to do if you intend to win.

Coaching Staff

In football, there’s a head coach. But there are also coaches with very specific responsibilities. Offense, defense, special teams, quarterbacks, kickers…all have specialists obsessing over their peak performance. Each player also focuses on a specific role and specialty. The more you staff specialists instead of “oh, that’s the guy that handles all our social media for us,” the more of a competitive threat you’ll be.

The Playbook

Beyond overall strategy, policies and goals, your social marketing players must have detailed knowledge of the plays you’ll be running. Not only should each person know what they’re supposed to do, they need to know what everybody else is doing. In football it’s teamwork. In social marketing we call in integration.

Watching Film

Teams watch film of their competition and film of themselves. Execute, measure, analyze, adjust, and execute again based on what you learned. Analytics is how you get better at what you do and prep for the next game.

Calling Audibles

Quarterbacks can see how the defense lines up and change the play from the field if the original wasn’t going to get them anywhere. When the results of your posts aren’t getting engagement, you’ve got to be nimble enough to shift tactics ASAP and try something that hits the right chord.

Driving Toward the Goal

There are several ways to get the ball across the goal line, i.e. running, passing, and kicking. Of course, you’ve got to know where the goal line is and every player must be working in tandem to get there. There are several social strategies you can use, but there’s got to be a goal. You then use whatever combo of tactics gets you across it.

The Right Gear

From the helmet to the cleats, everything that’s on a football player serves a purpose that contributes toward achieving the goal. In social marketing, not having the right publishing, listening, monitoring and engagement capabilities will put you at a distinct disadvantage against your competition. You could get hurt.

Fan Passion

There are few places where you’ll find a higher level of passion than in the stands of a football stadium. Fans so closely identify with and feel like a part of their teams their very emotions are tied to how the team does. They’re proud to wear the team colors. They’ll tell anyone what team they root for. They’ll gather with others based on their love of the same team. And they’ll scream themselves hoarse to give their team the home field advantage. In social marketing, we can only dream of igniting that kind of passion, engagement and emotional connection to our brands.

But it’s a worthy victory to strive for. So suit up, get fired up, and leave everything out on the field.

Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jul 30, 2013

Who’s Ready to Party? Social for Events

pinataWhen we think social marketing, we often think first of campaigns to drive awareness or product via posts and tweets.  But for many brands, event marketing is a consistent part of the mix. 84% of event organizers use Facebook to promote events, 61% use Twitter, and 42% use YouTube. 78% of event marketers plan to increase their use of social. Which is good, because to max out those opportunities, we must understand social for events has a unique importance, usage and strategy.

Before the Event

Figure out whom you want there. Get clear on which social channels they use to get most of their info.

Lock up that hashtag you want. Make it specific to the event, using it consistently before, during, and after. Don’t dilute it or confuse people by adding 3 or 4 additional hashtags.

Pre-event, use that hashtag to answer questions about registering, hotels, attire, nearby eating places, whatever. Include it on every invite, flyer, website, etc. you use.

What gets you to a movie? The trailer. Make a video or other content that makes your event seem like the not-to-be-missed industry event of the year. Make your presenters look like rock stars.

Set up a social contest where people can win a free pass to the event. If nothing else, it points out to them that they really do want to attend. But make it SUPER simple.

Create your event page on Facebook (and everywhere else it makes sense). There are a lot of tools and benefits to doing so, and you’ll want to start building the community of interested attendees long before the event. Tip: People love to see who else is going.

Let’s face it, some people are more active and influential on social than others. Find your field’s big influencers, get them to the event at no cost, and expect them to help get the social buzz going in exchange.

Get registrants invested. Let them have real world input via social on various aspects of the event as it’s being planned.

Take a minute to stop thinking about what you need. Think about how attendees will want to use social at the event and make sure you meet or exceed expectations.

Check the wi-fi at the venue. No, seriously. You’d be shocked how many tech events ironically feature slow or spotty Internet connections. It will destroy your social efforts.

Figure out what social metrics you’ll want to measure. If you don’t do that in advance, it will be easy to get lost in the weeds of all the data available.

Make sharing as easy as humanly possible, from the invite, from the registration page, from informational follow-up emails, from everywhere. If you can incentivize sharing, so much the better.

Plan out who’s responsible for what on social during the event. You don’t want to hear, “I thought you were going to tweet that session” or “Oh…I was supposed to get pictures?” Also think about contingency plans that might be needed.

At the Event

You can’t post, display, or say the event hashtag or handle enough. You just can’t, so please go ahead and try.

People come to industry events to network. One of the better ideas I’ve heard is to put attendee Twitter handles on their name tags. And while we’re on the subject, attendees shouldn’t have to look up presenter Twitter handles. It should be on all slides, not just one. Don’t assume photographic memories.

Live stream if you can. When that Felix guy jumped from the edge of space, there were over 8 million simultaneous live streams. So yes, people will watch if you give them something worth watching.

Don’t vanish on social once the event starts. Keep using social properties for on-site customer service, support and info. People tend to have more questions at events than before them.

Whether it’s Twitter walls, taking questions from Facebook, or reading tweets from the stage, let those following on social know they’re being seen and heard. That usually results in even more social activity.

Be as multimedia as you can. Cover your event like it was Comic-Con or CES.

Post Event

Now it’s time to leverage all the great stuff that came out of your event. The videos, the photos, decks, all of that is prime content for your social channels.

What you saw and heard should also give you material for several post-event blog posts. I personally like to take stock of which takeaways got the most retweets and do a “hot retweets” blog.

Gather your social lessons learned. What went right? What went wrong? Were there complaints? Were there missed opportunities? What did the social metrics you watched show? And don’t forget to act on what you learn. Amazingly, 95% of organizations collect customer feedback, but only 30% ever actually do anything with that data.

Follow those social event marketing guidelines and your event will be such a smash, half the marketing for next year’s event will already be done.

Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

8 Tough Social Strategy Questions for Your CEO

thinkerOften, the best way to get someone to think is to ask questions that get them to at least start thinking about what you’ve asked.  You may not get an answer right away, but the search for a good answer begins because an unanswered question tends to linger until resolved. This can get your CEO contemplating their social strategy.

We derive our questions from the recently released “State of Social Marketing” report from Altimeter Group, which polled a variety of brand and digital types involved in social marketing.

Study: The main goal of social is a near tie between engagement and brand lift.  Sales as the top goal fell over 40% in this year’s survey.
Question: Just what is it you want our social to accomplish?  
Pick one. Pick the one by which you’re going to judge the value of our social media. Pick the one you think is worth investing in. Don’t just leave me groping in the dark to prove “general” social ROI.

Study: It’s now believed most social users expect exclusive content from brands, even more than customer service, and definitely more than deals.
Question: If we start social channels for our brand, where will the content come from?  
You wouldn’t start a TV station without knowing where the shows to put on it will come from. But that’s what CEO’s are doing with social channels. The belief is that content comes out of thin air, by magic, and for free. What a dumb belief.

Study: More than anything else, budgets are holding back social and digital marketing.
Question: Is it because you don’t know what social marketing realistically costs, or is it that you won’t budget for it until it proves that it’s effective with no resources?  
This is the classic “don’t get in the water until you know how to swim” philosophy. It makes zero common sense. If they want to “test” social, fine. But give it legs to stand on so that it can fairly pass that test.

Study: More than ever, executive buy-in is cited as the reason social went mainstream at the brand.
Question: What will it take to get you excited about social?  
When you’re dating, you’re going along, having a pleasant time. But then that one little thing happens that sets off fireworks and alters the relationship. What would make your CEO finally “heart” social?

Study: Fewer social marketers believe they understand their social user than did last year.
Question: Do you even care what your customers think?  
Because seriously, with the growing awareness we’re in the age of customer centricity, with enormously empowered customers, with tools available to know and understand the customer better than ever before, if you don’t know your customer, it’s because you’re going out of your way not to. Find out if your CEO is a fan of trapped, manipulated customers or of raving fans.

Study: 54% have still not asked social users what they want from the brand.  That’s unchanged from 2011.
Question: New question not necessary. Just ask the one above again.  
Study: Only slightly more managers see social as being a mainstream part of their organizations than did in 2011.

Question: You realize you’re at risk of being a dinosaur, right?  
Corporate leaders aren’t being asked to be innovators, pioneers and risk-takers. That ship has sailed. Now we’re at the point where the continued refusal to adopt a fully accepted modern means of communication makes an organization just look silly. It’s like taking a wait-and-see approach toward this “telephone” thing.

Study: The trends managers are most concerned about are mobile experiences, followed by content management. Integrated experiences came in 6th.
Question: How can we have integrated experiences (which include mobile and content management) with a patchwork of vendors and tools?
If your CEO can show you seamless integration amongst a quilt of disparate technologies that socially enable the enterprise, they should. Otherwise, time to talk about choosing a technology partner whose components can be added as needed.

Discussions like these should not be avoided. Answers rarely come without questions before them.

Photo: Mario Sanchez, stock.xchng

Tuesday Jun 11, 2013

The First 4 Questions of a Social Strategy

chessLet’s face it.  In many businesses, there is no social strategy. Because of all the social media buzz, a Facebook Page was launched, a Twitter stream was started, and their management was tasked to someone, perhaps by virtue of being in their early 20’s, as part of their job. They get a bemused pat on the head when followers go up, but then it’s back to business as it was done in the 90’s.

If something’s worth doing at all, it’s worth having a plan and a purpose. Even company picnics have a plan and a purpose. They’re sometimes more strategized than social is.

So for those still in the starting blocks, here are 4 things to ask to get a serious-minded social strategy going.

Question 1: Whom Do I Want to Talk To? 
Suppose I want the parents in my kid’s class to know there’s a bake sale coming up and we need cupcakes. I could stand on a street corner holding a sign everyone who drives by could see. Or, I could send out a note to the class parent email list.

The right choice is obvious, yet many businesses lunge into social without a clear idea of whom they want to reach. Not asking the question, or leaving it for everyone to assume, is a mistake. It warrants some thought.

Will you use social to introduce your product to people who’ve never heard of it? Will you use social to get people who’ve bought your product to buy again? Will you use social to get regular customers to spread the word about you? Will you use social to execute customer service? Will you use social to conduct research? Will you use social to court and build relationships with experts in your industry? Will you use social to connect to your partners and vendors?

“All of the above” can’t be the answer, at least with one strategy. Each audience requires its own strategy. Start by picking one audience, the one most important to you, and start interacting with them using the next questions. Multiple audiences and strategies can then be added as you go and grow.

Question 2: What Do I Want Them to Do? 
Many businesses ask, “What do I want to tell them?” It’s the kind of push-marketing mentality that’s falling out of favor as the public, especially younger demos, grows increasingly repelled by desperate messages from self-absorbed brands. Telling them something isn’t enough anyway. You want them to do something. But you can’t get them to do it until you know what “it” is.

Do I want them to share posts? Do I want them to talk to each other about us? Do I want them to watch our videos? Do I want them to tell us what they do and don’t like about our product? Do I want them to use a coupon? Do I want them to play a branded game? Do I want them to join a rewards program? Do I want them to check in to my location? Do I want them to contribute content?

Until you know what you want them to do, you can’t get to the next issue of what you must give them in order for them to do it. Believe me, they aren’t thinking about your needs and what’s best for you. They must be motivated by something of value to them.

Question 3: Where’s the Best Place to Reach the Target?
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Flickr, GetGlue, Viggle, MySpace, Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal, Tagged, Orkut, Reddit, Meetup…the list goes on. There’s no shortage of social networks, each with its own angle.

You’ll want to assess which are most populated with your target, and which offer effective interaction opportunities for brands. Only you can determine how large of an audience makes participating on a social network worth it. Which leads us to the next question.

Question 4: Can I Finish What I Start?
Or better yet, will I finish what I start?

Like any other kind of marketing, social requires commitment and resourcing. It’s not a hobby, or a part time job, or busywork for an intern. If you launch into the social world with no plan, no purpose, no guidelines, no source of consistent quality content, no way to respond to customers, no social technology platform that can publish/moderate/analyze your communities across multiple social channels, you could actually do the brand more damage than good.

Give social a fair shake, with a solid strategy behind it, and the reasons for doing so will become clear as the communication pipeline between you and your customers really starts flowing.

Photo: stock.xchng, Kriss Szkurlatowski

Friday Apr 05, 2013

Multitaskers Force Brands to Be Everywhere

multitaskingThe old joke used to be that someone couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time.  Now we can walk, chew gum, do some needlepoint, play Words With Friends, listen to an audiobook, do isometric stomach crunches, hum, take in the smells of the city, and mentally go over your to-do list…all at the same time.

We are a multitasking species. We’re everywhere, and we’re using everything at our disposal to accomplish tasks, amuse ourselves, or take in information. Multiple people multitasking means multiple devices, which leaves brands trying to figure out which devices to focus on.

Well, you are also expected to multitask. So the answer is “all of them.” Your instinct might be to say, “Hey, they’re only going to engage with us one device at a time, and if we’re on every device, we’re just going to have our device strategies cannibalizing each other.”

A presentation at Oracle CloudWorld NYC with SVP Product Strategy for Oracle Social Reggie Bradford and NBCUniversal CMO John Miller showed otherwise.

The Olympics were the most watched event in TV history - 217 million viewers. 82 million were reached via digital platforms. There were 2 billion Page views, 65 million live streams and 8 million app downloads.

As it turns out, the more screens/ways there were to experience Olympic content, the more time was spent on all devices, with no cannibalization. Overall usage and engagement simply went…up.

With TV only, time spent consuming was 4 hours, 19 minutes. When the PC/laptop was added in, it was 5:18. Add in mobile, it was 6:50. Toss in tablets and we’re at 8:29. Not only did more screen increase overall consumption time, the addition of secondary screens such as tablet resulted in increased viewing on the primary screen, TV.

Consumer multitasking doesn’t hurt, it helps.

25% of time spent watching the competitions on TV was accompanied by the use of another screen. 50% of site, app, and mobile users watched while watching TV. And, of course, social fueled engagement, with 7 out of 10 viewers 13-34 saying it “made them more interested in watching the Games on TV.”

Okay, you might not be the Olympics, but the message is that when people find content they like, they seek out more of it in multiple places. That means we should strategize across all devices based on consumers’ multi-device behaviors, which a Microsoft study broke down into 4 categories in order of frequency.

Content Grazing: using 2+ screens simultaneously to do unrelated things.  
Investigative Spider-Webbing: using one device to get info related to what you’re doing on another.
Quantum Journey: using multiple devices sequentially to accomplish a task.
Social Spider-Webbing: sharing content on one device about what you did or found on another.

Does this apply to brands and revenue? Google/Nielsen found out 63% of shoppers used multiple devices to help with holiday purchases last year. And PricewaterhouseCoopers says 56% of US consumers spent more with a retailer since they started shopping across multiple channels.

What brands offer must match what consumers are doing. And that means multitasking on multiple devices.



Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

Be Their Social Valentine: Go From Like to Love

RoseHappy Valentine’s Day (week)! Traditionally, it’s a time to drop lots of money on flowers and candy to express gratitude for the ones you love. If you’re fortunate, those people even love you back. For brands, this courtship plays itself out on social.

Getting a Facebook “Like” can be a heady experience for brand. You should be swept off your feet if a consumer willingly clicks that thumbs up button and publicly expresses a fondness for your product or service. But after that initial attraction, your fan is going to want the relationship to grow. Sadly, far too many brands are happy with “Like,” the cheap one-night stands of the social network world.

When a consumer Likes a brand, all they’re really saying is, “Okay, you caught my eye. I’m interested. Let’s see where this thing goes.” You, as the suitor, have to then either close the deal, or set the fan free to Like and build a satisfying relationship with someone else. Like is merely a first step.

From there, brands should be diligently focused on turning Likes into loves. Simply gathering fans and putting notches in your iPad for every conquest results in little more than empty bragging rights. It’s not going to get you what you really want out of a relationship with your customer.

To get that, you have to get engaged. Getting engaged, just as in the real world, means making an obvious, ongoing commitment to a relationship that’s going to last, that’s going to work, and that’s going to be healthy for both parties involved.

Think about what love does for us:

  • It makes us feel good about ourselves
  • We know the other person will be there for us
  • It gives us someone to do nice things for
  • It gives us someone who’ll be honest with us
  • It gives us someone to build a family with

The value proposition for brands to turn Like into love isn’t much different.

  • Fans make us feel good about our product  
  • As long as we don’t betray or neglect them, they’ll be there for us  
  • They give us someone to make happy  
  • They’ll be honest with us, even if what they’re telling us is difficult to hear  
  • They help us grow our family of fans

None of this is possible if you stop at Like. How do we move them from somewhat interested to head over heels? Easy. We love them back. As Glenn Close told us when she cooked Michael Douglas’ pet rabbit, people don’t like to be ignored.

When you love someone, you care about how they feel, you care about what they think, you spend time with them, you make them feel like they’re the most important person in the world to you. It’s human nature…we like people who like us. The minute your fans feel like they’re taken for granted and doing all the giving in the relationship, the magic is gone.

As the Dr. Phil of brands on social, we at Oracle Social are mastering the socially enabled enterprise, with technology tools that help brands and organizations listen to fans, get to know them intimately, solicit their opinion, and deepen the engagement that can create true brand love stories for the digital ages.

Photo: stock.xchng


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