What does it take to be a successful social media player? Ebay, Apple and Google show that reputation isn’t everything.
In a recent measurement of social brand reputation, Ebay came out on top, followed by Apple in 2nd place and Google in 3rd. The Big 3 excelled in scores around reach and sentiment. They are widely, and positively, mentioned.
But what does it really take to be a big social media player and how can you measure success? These positive attitudes throughout the social web reflect general public image – but how well will the likes of eBay fare as direct involvement in social platforms becomes a more integral part of this? Social channels are truly interactive, and responsiveness is expected from businesses. Do these top three brands really shine in social platforms, or do good reputations reflect responses to traditional marketing efforts?
Conversocial took a look at the engagement that three major companies, Ebay, Apple and Google, maintain with their Facebook fans. Our metric, IPM (Interactions Per Thousand fans), gauges interaction levels relative to fan size. This shows how well companies are actually engaging with their fans, which is essential to get seen in Facebook. The more engagement your marketing messages receive, the more people you can reach, the more people interact with you – and the social cycle continues. Using Conversocial’s Profiler tool, we compared the average IPM scores of these three top brands.
None fared too well.
A good page usually generates an IPM score between 1 and 5 – it gets harder to engage the same proportion of your customers as your fans become more numerous and diverse. EBay scored 0.23 on its US page. Despite having over 430,000 fans, EBay doesn’t manage to engage with too many of them.
The page just doesn’t post often enough – its customers are largely neglected. Posting too often can bombard fans, but posting a couple of times a month is not enough to keep a community going. Fans are a wasted opportunity when you don’t speak to them. EBay has invested into its page with a number of custom tabs – but most fans don’t actually visit the pages they like. 85% of page interactions take place in the news feed, so it is essential to target your customers here, with relevant updates.
Each fan base has distinct needs and expectations, which can become more and more diverse as a community grows in size – the iTunes (US) page has over 10 million fans, and only scores 0.10 IPM. Getting good engagement levels with huge numbers of people does become hard work, but is something social media marketers should strive for.
Sometimes frequent link posting can reduce interaction. iTunes’ updates often offer little more than a sales service, sending its fans to the iTunes store to purchase certain items. Even if links offer interesting content and give a boost to your image, directing fans away from your page often means they won’t come back to give you the comments which are crucial for visibility.
Google’s IPM score of 0.5 shows another struggle to reach a huge fan base, yet they are not alone. Its search engine rivals fare even worse for engagement, with Bing and Yahoo only managing 0.33 and 0.24 interactions for every thousand of their fans.
The industry is clearly in the early stages of producing social brands – some take more work than others and don’t benefit from ready-made communities around their products and services. Google’s updates are interesting and some get good engagement (Google doodles do especially well), but their huge fan numbers are being exploited by spammers ‘engaging’ to get seen.
It is essential to keep your page and your updates clean and free from irritating content, or risk losing the interest of your much sought-after fans. You get spammed, they get spammed. It can be long and arduous to build up a community of engaged customers, but very quick and easy to lose them if you spread irrelevant content.
They have a starting point upon which to build their communities – ready audiences, likely to be receptive to their social messages. Yet these companies have further to go. Arguably much more challenging than traditional media, social platforms present an obstacle course before they will show their users your messages. Unlike other outlets, success must come before exposure.
Measuring the reach of your brand on social platforms can give you a useful insight into your general brand performance, like any PR. But this is exactly the limitation. To treat social platforms like any other medium – a one way communication channel – fails to embrace the future of social brands.
It may sound obvious, but we mustn’t forget to consider the ‘social’ in Social Media. The move of brands onto these platforms isn’t just an occupation of a new medium, but a change in the way business/customer relations operate. The era of companies blasting one way marketing messages out and sweeping private customer service communications under the rug is over; companies must adapt to consumers who are more vocal and powerful than ever.
If you want to find out how well you’re engaging with your fans, we will be profiling pages at the Social Media World Forum. See how you compare to your competitors, and have a chat with us about how Conversocial could help you to understand what drives engagement with your own customers.
Conversocial is a Social Media Management System that helps businesses manage the increasing volume of two-way communication going through social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Through in-depth engagement analytics and comprehensive comment management tools, Conversocial enables effective marketing distribution, moderation and customer support.