Social Media and Forgetting the Purpose

4 05 2010
Ben Paynter recently wrote a great article for Fast Company on the status of social media.  It turns out (not that it should come as a huge surprise) that all those companies chasing buzz and gimmicks on Facebook, etc. are starting to suffer poor returns.  Why, you ask?  Because the customer always goes where the value is.  Not value as in what’s on sale, but value as in, how do they engage with the product.  What do they gain from being involved in the gimmicks.  Even if it’s just light-hearted fun, that is value for the customer.  Because let’s face it, we could all use some light-hearted fun from time to time.

Paynter’s article hinges on a Vivaldi-Lightspeed study, which measures attitudes like “I would recommend this brand to a friend.”  And no one is going to recommend a gimmicky brand, right?  Case in point – the article leads off with a comparison of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.  (slight bias: I love DD coffee)  It should be assumed without looking that Starbucks probably has more Facebook fans than Dunkin’.  In fact, the article points out that a photo contest Dunkin’ ran only received one hundred and forty submissions!  But it’s about what they do with those fans that really counts.  The lesson here is take care of your customers, and give them real value, and they will tell their friends.  It doesn’t have to be an arms-race of contests and sweepstakes to “buy” fans.  Just do what you do better than anyone, take care of your customers, and be available in the social space (even if it is just a website), and word-of-mouth can help do the rest.  It’s a beautiful thing. 

I’ve inserted the very informative and in-depth graphic designed for Ben Paynter’s article, but you can also go read the real thing, “Five Steps for Consumer Brands to Earn Social Currency“.

Posted via email from the Jeff Vincent blog

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