Facebook Stunts: Only Half The Battle. The Superficial Half.
Facebook is free media, great. Brands want to be there, they want fans and followers. Good, especially considering that Half of Social Media Users Connect With Brands.
But “how” to do this is the question Publicists, Digital Strategists, Marketers, and Advertisers have been asking themselves. And while no one tactic has been perfected, there is one guideline to follow when engaging (yes, I hate that word too, but unfortunately there are times when it’s appropriate and its use, unavoidable).
Longevity. Dedication. Commitment. Whatever you want to call it. Don’t just start a conversation, don’t just jump in when you feel like it. Don’t assume that your presence on a platform will automatically attract consumers. Initiating a relationship is only the first step. Rewarding the consumers who participate in that relationship; acknowledging those ‘loyals’ – fostering and growing that relationship, turning fans and followers into brand advocates – that’s where the greatest potential lies.
Having fans or followers is a great ego boost for a brand but it only OPENS the line of communication. What you do next, how you capitalize on that following, is what will make or break your social media initiative.
Take TGI Friday’s new “Fan Woody” Campaign. They want followers, for obvious reasons. So what do they do? They give something away. I mean, who doesn’t like free shit? I know I do, to the point where I’d friend Woody even though I’m not a particularly big fan of the brand (no pun intended there).
So yes, they’ll probably reach their goal of 500,000 fans by the end of September (not such a lofty goal for a nationally recognized brand, but I guess it pays to set the bar low).
But swag is easy. It’s the cheap way of getting followers. Effective? Duh. Would I advocate it, of course, it gets the job done. But it does nothing for the brand in the long term. The big question is, how will TGI Friday’s capitalize on this new audience? I don’t know about you, but I’m quite curious to see what their next move will be.
Stunts are great, but what comes next?
IMHO, effectiveness and distinctiveness in the social realm means catering, not just to our fondness of swag, but to our desire to create and produce. What do I mean?
Step one: Build a base – as exemplified by countless brands (chick-fil-a & others) give something away – get their attention.
Step two: Give this new audience the opportunity to contribute by offering them a vehicle or outlet for user-generated content. Whereas promotions say “we appreciate you because you give us money,” soliciting user-generated content – something like “Design an appetizer to be featured on our menu & we’ll have our fans vote for the favorite submission” – would say, “We value your input and creativity and we want you to help make our brand better.”
Ultimately, this is what consumers want. A free burger every now and then is cool but that won’t do shit for establishing a relationship with your existing or potential patrons. Consumers, especially young consumers, want input and control over your brand. A scary notion, but one that brands must accommodate if they want to appeal to the newest generation of consumers.
What do you think? What comes after “The Stunt?
(Thanks to Aaron Levy for helping inspire this post)
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Have a Great Weekend!