Are you counting your YouTube, LinkedIn or Facebook subscribers like they’re your prospects? They’re not. Many companies doing the research on their following find that they’re mostly being socially supported by employees, the competition and current employees. Followers, it seems, are good for vanity but not necessarily a leading indicator for future sales.
And there are strong reasons why it ends up that way (but doesn’t have to). Most companies treat social channels like a sports team treats its fans…like we’re all in on the same secret and have the same passion for our common interest in Company X.
We’re not all Apple
Some brands have the benefit of a cult-like following that enjoys a steady diet of pro-brand propaganda (Think: Apple). For the rest of us, building a social following that gives us any chance of revenue lift involves taking an approach that does the following:
- Creates thought leadership
- Provides information, not pitches
- Honors the ‘social contract‘ with content that isn’t sales-y
- Acts as a conduit to other conversations
- Asks for feedback and follows up on comments
These may seem common sense, but they’re not in practice for many brands, including some of the biggest, where resources shouldn’t be the obstacle.
What is a subscriber?
Just because someone subscribes doesn’t mean they’re actively listening. Think of your own world where you undoubtedly connect to social media channels that you routinely ignore, too lazy or busy to disconnect. A subscriber isn’t nearly as valuable as someone who consumes content, which isn’t nearly as valuable as someone who engages in comments, shares and, to a lesser extent, likes.
It’s drawing people into your parlor that matters, not seeing them in your front yard.