Online Brand Engagement: Is it worth it?
In this digital world, many companies and brands are online: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. When Web 2.0 first emerged, it was all the rage! If you weren’t online, then it was thought that you weren’t engaging your audience.
As Web 2.0 has become the norm, companies still want to engage their audience online. But, why?! There’s no proof that social engagement translates to dollars. I’ve always believed that “liking” a brand on Facebook or following them on Twitter means nothing because I’m going to support them regardless of my social engagement. An article in AdAge, titled Even Sexy Brands Struggle with Low Engagement on Facebook, on February 28th supports my skepticism.
The article says that “less than 1% of fans of the 200 biggest brands on Facebook actually engage”. This statistic is not surprising to me. If you’re like me, you may like a brand on Facebook or Twitter, but you rarely keep up with their postings. While I have no concrete evidence, I wouldn’t be surprised if people just “liked” or “followed” a brand just because they are loyal to the brand. As a marketer, I “like” brands online, but I support them in stores; I don’t engage with them online. Why? Because I’ve always liked the brand or company and me “liking” or “following” them won’t change that. And I will always be loyal to them because I’ve developed a good relationship with the brand offline, in more traditional ways.
A lot of companies feel that they have to be online to have that engagement, but I think companies and brands forget that there are other engagement opportunities, with greater impact, than following a status update or a tweet. Another factor that brands need to keep in mind when entering into social media is the target audience. Depending upon the target audience’s age group will determine the amount of online engagement you will receive.
Back to my earlier statement, how does a brand’s “likes” or “follows” translate into dollars? To my knowledge, there aren’t any measurement tools that prove that “likes” or “follows” increases sales.
In business, it all comes down to dollars and cents and brands need to determine which Web 2.0 tools and other marketing vehicles will give them the greatest return on marketing investment. At this time, there’s no proof that social media fits the bill. Maybe I’m a skeptic, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.