So many social enthusiasts emphasize the importance of social engagement. I open up many client presentations with two research statistics. The first one states that “engaged customers spend 30% more.” Everyone involved with social media planning should show some concern and responsibility for making sure that their efforts lead to the bottom line. This is one of the reasons why I put this stat upfront.
But what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Are true, loyal customers that already make brand purchases also engaging, or does the engagement lead to purchase?
So let’s start with the proposition that while social is not a strong vehicle for direct conversion/sales, we do need to tee up conversion and sales. This is everyone’s business objective and social marketing cannot elude this objective. (I covered teeing up conversion in a previous article “Know What Successful Social Media Looks Like.”
So while engagement has some positive influence on the ultimate goal of sales, are we not looking for something more powerful and influential? Engagement is one step in the process, but not the complete objective. You need advocates to tout your product. Advocacy, word-of-mouth, is the pinnacle outcome of social marketing. The second statistic I always present to clients is “71% likelihood of purchase when referred by social media.” Think about it. If you are making a purchase decision, what are your influences? Do you read reviews? Get recommendations from your friends or colleagues? Advocacy truly drives sales.
There is a relationship between engagement and advocacy. When you have engagement with an audience, you need to identify the power users. These are the people that are your potential advocates. Cultivate the power users. Give them special attention, recognition, and added benefits. You must have a strategy and plan for converting your brand advocates. Engagement is the precursor of advocacy. It is a necessary step, but you really need to strive for advocacy.
Thus, “You Should Not Be Satisfied With Social Engagement.”
Make It Happen,