Quality or Quantity: A Zero Sum Game For Luxury Brands on Social Platforms?

Some brands (which will remain nameless) have chosen to pay for followers and fans for their social platforms, which has resulted in a poor quality of fans and consequently, irrelevant communications to those fans. For example, looking at your Facebook Insights results, you might question the importance of a high concentration of male fans under 16, if you’re a luxury hotel chain.

One might argue that for luxury brands, who use these social platforms for consumer engagement, any communication to someone that has opted in to receive messages is relevant and will support their brand & image building objective – it builds the dream of the brand with people who’ve expressed interest in the brand.

The counter argument is that brands, especially luxury brands, should laser target and ensure that all of their communications on all platforms & channels goes to the most relevant people.

Essentially, the quality and quantity question is something that any luxury brand using social platforms like Facebook, Twitter or SinaWeibo for communication should be asking themselves.

What do I mean by quality or quantity?

Taking a few steps back, when any brand sets up a page on a social platform such as Facebook or Twitter, they must ask themselves a few questions:

  1. What is my objective for using this platform? Consumer engagement, information sharing or customer support?
  2. What is the objective of growing the platform? To reach as many people as possible or to reach a quality audience that have pre-qualified themselves as interested in my brand? Can I do both?
  3. How do I want the platform to grow – organically or through paid activity?
  4. If I’m willing to pay for fans / followers, how will I do this?  NB: Approach this with absolute caution and avoid any of the bulk follower  / fan buying services, as you will likely be buying spam accounts that  are completely irrelevant to your brand. My view is that luxury brands should never need to run Promoted Account or Like campaigns – if you have quality content (which all luxury brands should have) it will be easy to grow the platform organically.

Should luxury brands even care about the number of followers  / fans their brand has, as long as they are getting quality engagement?

My view is that quantity doesn’t mean quality – a high number of followers or fan doesn’t equate to legitimacy. It really is about how you engage with those followers, how often you engage & the quality of the content that you give them. You could have 10m quality followers on Twitter, but that number is irrelevant if you don’t give them something that makes it worth continuing to follow your brand.

Quantity for the sake of it means nothing and numbers do not equate to legitimacy. This principle holds true for fan and follower numbers, as well as page metrics. Talking specifically of page metrics, my view is  that quality engagement is a good balance between likes, comments & shares. The number of likes will always be disproportionate to the number of comments & shares, because this is a very simple action, compared to the marginally more complex action of sharing, replying or commenting.

What next?

If you already have a large number of fans or followers, check the quality of these people. There are now webtools, as well as the insights tools on the platform that can give you a topline view of quality.

  1. Use a service like Status People to check the quality of your Twitter followers. This service tells you if you the proportion of your followers that are good, fake or inactive based on a sample of 1,000 followers. Find out more here.
  2. Work with Facebook to leverage their internal tools to understand who the fans are on your Facebook page
  3. Use a series of Facebook Questions to develop an understanding of who your fans are.
  4. Run a formal survey on your Facebook page to understand who your Facebook fans are.

Once you know who your fans and followers are, develop or continue a strategy that emphasises sharing strong brand stories, whether they be images, videos, audio or text.  Quality content will always begat quality followers / fans.

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