Twitter and Facebook … most often the first two words after social media. Just about every executive initiative related to social media starts with, “We need to be on Facebook and Twitter.” But are these two high visible platforms really the best channels to rally potential and existing buyers?
Last week, data was released that stated your Facebook fans and Twitters followers are twice as likely to purchase your product or service. “The survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research found that 51 per cent of fans of pages on Facebook and 67 per cent of brand followers on Twitter say they are more prone to making purchases from the companies they track.”
Pretty compelling information. But wait. What came first? The chicken or the egg? Do you purchase from a brand first, and then decide to join the brand’s Facebook fan page and follow them on Twitter, or does the social media connection happen before a purchase? We’ll debate that one for a while … at least until there is some empirical data to determine this.
While this debate continues, let me offer an alternative strategy. I am not going to suggest a substitute, but rather something more compelling that should be integrated into your (presumed) existing Twitter and Facebook activities.
If you want to develop relationships with your target audience (this is what social media is REALLY all about), go where they are hanging out as opposed to expecting them to come over to your place. Find the existing communities where they are already participating. (I am sure there are many!) Simply search blogs, portal, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to find the existing groups. Join these communities. Start by listening to the discussions there. Then join the conversations focusing on providing information that delivers to the communities’ needs (not yours). Continue to position yourself as a subject matter expert. Over the course of time, you will build relationships. Then you can invite them to your community (Facebook fan page) or to follow you (Twitter). But do this slowly and be sincere about the relationships you look to build. DO NOT SELL!!!
Mitch Joel (one of my favorite social media thought leaders out there) suggests, “spend(ing) ten times as much time adding value to the five or ten existing communities where (your) potential members might be hanging out, reading and connecting” in his article “The One Thing About Building A Community.” This is the integrated approach I suggested in the beginning. You will have your community where your existing customers will come (Twitter and Facebook – and others). Your community is an opportunity for you to build loyal customers and advocates. Your community will also attract people who might be considering purchase of your brand. But if you proactively want to rally your target audience, build relationships to new potential customers and over time turn them into your audience, go to their existing communities and play there.
Make It Happen!