When consulting on social media, I advise that businesses not only review their own social media profiles but their competitors too. Such competitors can be threatened by a growth in your social media reach and often companies buy Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter followers to keep up with their rivals.
Sometimes Facebook and Twitter profiles have a huge increase in following within a few short hours. This fake following is easily, without any effort, put in with the hope of accruing a true following. Such followers will not buy any products and services, and they won’t share brand messaging or ‘like’ any content.
Social media following isn’t a popularity contest and neither is it a box to be ticked. Fake followers imply that the brand in question is not worth following and they threaten user trust and the overall community feeling of social networks and social profiles.
We know that organisations want to appear established and taken seriously. Followers may also be bought to boost ad revenue, as advertising is often sold based on the number of followers a company or profile has – however fake profiles are easily spotted and organisations may quickly begin to question the true reach of their ad campaigns.
There are applications which can spot fake profiles such as www.StatusPeople.com’s ‘Fakers’ application. Additionally on www.TwitterCounter.com follower activity can be tracked – so overnight jumps in followers can be easily spotted. Such apps can cause businesses embarrassment when bought popularity is proven, and their profiles named and shamed.
Consumers often aren’t in shopping mode when on social media – so content can’t all be about selling. Many companies are falling behind as they don’t see social media as an important aspect of business as it is not sales focused and benefits can be tricky to measure. Social media is not about convincing the audience to make the decision to buy, but about helping consumers make the right choice when they do buy. This can be achieved by targeting relevant people and promoting your profiles online and offline, as well as running offers and competitions.
The challenge for brands is to get customers mentioning them throughout their experiences, booking a hotel, excitement building up to visit, announcing arrival on Facebook, tweeting a picture of the room on Twitter, complimenting staff service. The goal is to encourage customers and potential customers to talk about your brand, as when people engage this can be shared with their friends and the fan base grows naturally.
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