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Marketers Find Success on Social Through Customer Engagement

Marketers choose quality over quantity when adding social followers

Quality beats quantity when it comes to measuring social media effectiveness, according to an August 2013 study by ExactTarget. The survey found that 38% of US Facebook and 43% of Twitter marketers were more concerned with the quality of audience members added via social efforts than with the number of followers gained.

When setting social media objectives, an overwhelming majority of respondents—77% of Facebook and 70% of Twitter marketers—cited brand awareness as their top goal. Gaining customer insights/improving retention was also popular.

Results from more recent polling conducted in November 2013 by Ascend2 also determined brand awareness and customer engagement—which leads to customer insights and improves retention rates—were the top social marketing objectives among marketing professionals worldwide for the upcoming year, indicating that these global trends aren’t going away anytime soon.

Though throwing a Facebook or Twitter button on a website may be easy, cheap and common, respondents to ExactTarget’s survey didn’t find this nearly as effective as tactics requiring a little more effort and interaction—suggesting that quality content leads to quality results.

While providing service and support was not a top social objective, cited by just 22% of marketers from each group, tactics in this category proved very effective. Only 27% of marketers on Twitter and 34% on Facebook said they publicly answered customer service questions on the social platforms, yet 60% and 69% of respondents, respectively, reported this as effective. Offering FAQs and how-tos also had low usage rates among marketers, but at least half of respondents from each group found this effective.

One reason for the success of service and support on social? Customer engagement/conversation—a top objective cited by marketers in ExactTarget’s and Ascend2’s surveys. Allowing consumers to interact with brands to form one-on-one relationships makes them feel like they aren’t just another number. And continuing to develop those bonds ensures quality fans stick around—and helps marketers accomplish their social goals.

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