Is your social media fan your customer too?

Have you ever asked this question to your social media vendor, why your Facebook posts on your brand pages gets your business so little number of likes and comments organically, despite having thousands of fans?

Or for that matter, why your brand tweets feel lonely and absconding in the twitter timelines, waiting for somebody to retweet or favourite them for days? Especially when you have rightfully earned those thousands of fans and followers through paid social campaigns.

I am sure, for a lot of you, the bugging question is “why did those people liked your page in first place?”

Over the last few years of my career as a digital practitioner and marketing consultant, I’ve made some personal observations in the digital space. And one of the observations was around the utilisation of social media platforms as an advertising medium.

Fundamentally, social space was not supposed to be intruded by ads. One of the reasons as to why Twitter didn’t started monetisation of their platform for a long time. (Read : Is data mining the future of twitter’s monetisation strategy?)

The reality is that nobody likes ads in social media. Or let me put it even more bluntly.

People do not join Facebook to like BRAND PAGES! They join to connect, converse & stay engaged with the “people” in “their lives”. Brand pages or businesses are an aberration if they are not relevant to the environment.

Also Read: Here’s why you should stop worrying about your Facebook page likes

Lets deep dive a little more into this.

Social Media Growth Rates

The growth rates at the beginning of the social media revolution were astronomical. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and other social networks grew at rates that hadn’t been seen before in a web world.

That pace has slowed and it is much more organic in 2015. Here are some of the interesting stats we would be witnessing by the end of 2015.

Fans vs Customer?

If I put this question to top Fortune 500 Companies CMO’s, whether they are looking for more fans or more customers from their social media pages, I am sure, just like anyone else, they would take sometime to understand the difference between the two words.

What’s the difference between these words? Turns out it’s not just a difference of definitions, but also of mindset and therefore, strategy.

When you think of the word “customer,” you envision someone, cash in hand, ready to buy your product. If you take it one step further and think of a loyal customer, then it’s someone who repeatedly buys from you and perhaps even refers your business.

Scott Ginsberg of the Womma blog defines them so:

“A customer is someone who comes to a store to buy a lamp and never comes back. Fans crave experiences unlike any others.”

The word customer originated in the 1540s and meant “a person with whom one has dealings.”

The word fan originated much later in 1889. It meant “devotee” or “ardent admirer” and was primarily used to describe baseball enthusiasts and as a short form of fanatic.

Since first being used in a sports connotation, the word fan has now expanded to encompass many other industries. Musicians have fans. Movie stars have fans. And today, thanks to the Facebook lexicon, businesses have fans too.

Finding Fans For Your Business

In 2008, former Wired magazine editor Kevin Kelly wrote an insightful and very popular blog post called “1,000 True Fans.”

Kevin Kelly Blog Post 1000 True Fans

Copyblogger goes on to further extrapolate on this concept and discusses 20 steps to finding your true fans by teaching and promoting your knowledge.

Clearly, they are also pointing you in one direction, creating valuable information in a smart package which builds context, connect and relevance with your audience.

Content is the King, the Queen, the prince, the princess, and perhaps the entire kingdom

Clearly, the rise of social platform is not because people are consuming more advertising, but because they are consuming more content.

Imagine it like a coffee shop. Those who love to drink coffee often have favourite places to do so. They frequent a chosen venue because it’s a great place to hang out. Perhaps they know the owners or the other customers who, like them, regularly drop in to socialise. But without the rich aromas and great tasting coffee that they serve, would they still go there if there was nothing to drink?

For the most successful companies operating in the realms of social media, they’ve got the fresh content, they’ve brought the crowd and as long as they keep serving up this gourmet content, they’ve got a winning virtual hangout.

But more often than not, companies tend to focus on securing their presence in the race to catch up with competitors. They get the coffee shop in the form of a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube presence, but forget what they’re serving.