Wildfire, a company that makes software for social media interaction (Facebook contest pages, for example) conducted an analysis of 10,000 social media campaigns over the last 9 months and focused on the top 10% of performing efforts. The point was to identify strategies that seemed to work well. If you’re interested you can get the report (registration required) here. As reported by The RealTime Report:
Wildfire finds that for each person who shares content from a campaign on Facebook, 14 new people will learn about that campaign in their news feed. In addition, for every 10 advocates (those who are capable of bringing new followers to a campaign) a brand gets to join its social campaign, they’ll get 13 other people to interact with the campaign in some way. Overall, brands that are highly effective in engaging with advocates and content-sharers via campaigns see three times the interaction (Likes, shares, comments) on their Facebook pages when compared to other brands.
Impressive although I wonder how the transition to Timeline and the inability to set a contest or other Wildfire-type tab as the default on a brand page has impacted the results. Even so, only 17% of fans share brand activity. Then again, why should they? Too many brands are focused on building a bigger audience (generating “Likes”) and not on any sort of collaboration among the fan base. The companies who use Facebook and other social media well aren’t using those platforms as glorified broadcast channels. Ask yourself what brands you follow (if you follow any) engage you. I don’t mean they keep you coming back looking for discounts but they almost seem to be people. You’re interested in what’s going on with them.
One of the strategies suggested in the report is to provide clear calls to action. I don’t disagree, but how many of your friends ONLY post messages asking you to sign a petition or do something else that they feel is important but might have little relevance to you? Providing exclusive content is a great strategy but not if that content only has value to the brand. What’s the user benefit?
Social media isn’t like other media. As a company, it’s less about you than it is your consumer. That can be a hard change of perspective but it’s one companies need to make. Stop behaving like a brand and start behaving like a friend. I know of companies that do this well – tell me which ones you think are on that list.