More and more I’m seeing paid advertising that seems to have as its central goal to increase the number of “Likes” racked up on Facebook or, now with the roll-out of the “Promoted Accounts” feature, followers on Twitter.
These advertisements, whether they happen within the network or are part of a paid placement elsewhere on the web, seem to be placed on the notion that if they increase the follower/fan count significantly then they have proved their worth. Often these ads are placed by an advertising or marketing agency on behalf of a client while the PR firm that works for the same client is the entity that’s helping to manage and run the Twitter and/or Facebook account.
There are a number of potential pitfalls that can emerge from there being a sudden influx of new followers on these platforms that are coming through a paid ad, especially if there were some sort of carrot dangled as part of the ad, where people get some sort of incentive for joining or following.
First and foremost among them is that the quality of the audience may not be at the level of those who have found the page organically or because of other promotional efforts. They’re looking for deals and coupons, not a continuous stream of updates and information that are designed to spur conversations.
Second, there’s the potential that even if they are more information seekers, they’re not looking for that kind of information. If a Twitter profile is specifically geared toward one aspect of a company’s business and someone is looking for a different component, there can be difficult conversations over unmet expectations.
This all just goes back to a central truism:
The number of people who follow you on Twitter or who Like you on Facebook is not in and of itself a sign of success.
It’s more important what you do with that audience – how you engage them, what sort of response rate you get when you put out a call to action, how you acknowledge their contributions to the conversation – that truly matter. All of those are measurable.
The potential for problems to emerge also points to the need, the absolute necessity, of all agencies working together and being on board with the goals, strategies and tactics (in that order) of a program. If everyone is on the same page there’s less likelihood of a problem coming up to begin with since all partners will know that sending 100,000 people over to become followers with the promise of a coupon isn’t going to play to the long-term gains the program has been set out to achieve.