So, you’re addicted to growing your social media communities with promotions?

It’s understandable.

You can grow your likes, followers, or subscribers at warp-speed. Which is pretty awesome; particularly when you’re trying to justify your social media marketing spend to the bigwigs upstairs, or the time and resources you pump into social if you’re a small business or start-up.

What’s the problem then?

I’ll tell you that I’ve worked with more than one client who is pretty dead-set on running social media promotions in perpetuity to sustain rapid rates of fan acquisition. The lure of fan acquisition is strong, and as the promotion kicks off, advertising dollars kick in to drive traffic, and it gets picked up on deal and discount websites, a drove of new people arrive looking for a hand-out.

But then they leave. They leave with alarming velocity. Like vultures after a carcass has been picked clean.

When a promotion lapses, newly acquired fans, followers or subscribers leave because the thing that attracted them to the community is of short-term interest. You can’t really blame them, can you?

I’ve seen promotional programs run their course, and for every 1,000 new fans, followers, or subscribers acquired, roughly 250-350, or more, immediately recede with even more running for the hills shortly thereafter. Let’s face it, with recession rates this high you are hemorrhaging fans.

To combat this, marketers sometimes come to the conclusion that they need to continue running social media promotions. This just propagates and prolongs the issue, and costs lots of money in the meantime.

The good news is that there are several ways to reduce your dependence on running social media promotions for your business or brand. Here are a few:

Get back to the basics of social media marketing

At this stage of the game, virtually everyone knows the basic recipe for social media marketing. Create killer content, engage your audience, encourage participation, get involved in relevant discussions, and on. You’ve read enough articles to know the drill, so do it. Put your social media promotions on hold, and reinvest the dollars you’d put toward prizing and fulfillment to creating something amazing, that will be of long-term value to your consumers, that people can identify with, and that will generate discussions. That should be a good starting point.

Buy into the true value of social media marketing

You absolutely will want to grow your social media audience to critical scale, but number of fans, followers, and subscribers is one small piece of a greater value equation of social media marketing.

Think about how you can convert fans of your brand to loyalists through ongoing engagement. Think about how you can prove your expert knowledge to prospective consumers conducting research about your business online. Think about how you can reduce customer service costs by assisting people en masse through your social media channels. Think about how you can conduct research through social media to reduce your product development costs. I’ll stop there, but the ways that you can measure the value of your social media marketing efforts should be more varied and numerous than just how many fans you’ve acquired.

If you truly buy into the full value of social media marketing, you’ll be more likely to move your sights beyond fan acquisition as your sole measure of success, and therefore, be more willing to ditch promotions in favour of more meaningful and activity on social media.

Make a mission of educating the bigwigs on the value of social media

Okay, okay… maybe you understand the true value of social media marketing. But, do the guys upstairs in the corner offices? Sometimes the over reliance on social media promotions focus on fan acquisition can be strongly influenced by others.

If the guys upstairs, your supervisors, or your owner doesn’t truly understand the full value of social media marketing, you’re going to have a difficult time selling them on how to properly engage, grow and sustain your social media communities. It might be time to make a mission of educating and training them. Organizational buy-in is a must to be successful on social media, and typically that starts at the top.

Have you experienced the same rapid fan acquisition and correlated recession as described above?

Have you had success retaining fans acquired from running a social media promotion?

How have you grown your social media communities to critical scale without the use of promotions?

It would be awesome to chat with you about this, or anything for that matter, in the comments or on Twitter @RGBSocial

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  1. […] So, you’re addicted to growing your social media communities with promotions? It’s understandable. You can grow your likes, followers, or subscribers at warp-speed. Which is pretty awesome; particu…  […]


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Engagement, Promotions, Social Media Marketing


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