Yes. It has happened. Need proof? Here’s one.
The channels (Star World and Star Movies) have an online community of over 3.35 lakh fans on Facebook on the last count, leaving behind their competition and some of the news and broadcast portals by a superlative margin. The leading Movie channel & English GEC, now emerge as clear favorites on Facebook…
And there’s more.
The channels have not only witnessed an increase in fan base over the last few months but the total number of monthly active users have also gone up to 1,82,114. Every month an average of 12,000 and 30,000 new fans get added to the STAR World and Movies fan pages respectively.
Mind you, it is One lakh, eighty two thousand, one hundred and fourteen. Should we add a ‘only’, like we do in a cheque? All this is a piece titled, ‘Star Movies and Star World become social choice‘!
Isn’t it a bit like saying, ‘I have more beans than you!’
Quick question – when was the last time you heard any brand talk about the number of people they have in their direct mailer database? Or the number of page views their websites get? Yes, channels regularly talk about viewership numbers, but that is for the purpose of selling ad space. We all see through those ‘viewership’ numbers too…all that TAM numbers, I mean, but advertisers need ‘some’ metric to spend money, I suppose.
Back to Facebook. Another example.
After about 8 months of launch NyooTV is getting about 3K visitors daily and although the Facebook fan page is abuzz with 750K+ fans…
That is about a ‘Online TV’ startup (or just website?) that has about 3,000 visitors everyday, but has amassed 750,000 fans on Facebook. What do those 750,000 fans do for the website? How are they helping their business? By clicking on the ‘like’ buttons? By commenting? Yeah, keep dreaming that those 750,000 people are all glued to the brand, thanks to Facebook.
At least NyooTV is a newbie, but why would well known players like Star TV group share such cringe-inducing numbers about…of all things…Facebook fan count?
Now, let me clear one fact – I’m not faulting their engagement tactics and strategy. Both Star World and Star Movies are doing perfectly functional stuff on Facebook – interesting content for the TG, high engagement/conversatons and interesting enough promos/contests. But that’s precisely the point.
Most (almost) brands are doing admirably well on the content front – they may lack a larger goal on what that content should achieve, but the way the content reads on an everyday basis, it is largely faultless.
So, earlier these brands advertised. Because they needed visibility and everybody else was advertising.
Then, some brands started having a website. There were people looking up for things online and competing brands had websites too. Soon, a website became a commodity that every brand must have.
Now, it’s the social networking presence that has become a commodity. Every brand worth its name is present in all/most of the social networking platforms and do a middling-to-decent job, on an average. It’d have been perfect if it stayed at that point, but the fact that some brands do ‘press releases’ and talk about the numbers is…if I may use the word…a tragicomedy.
Imagine…I haven’t even started to talk about Facebook advertising and how it can boost fan count – that’s the NyooTV model, in any case.
The question to remember and keep asking oneself is, ‘What do these fans mean to my business?’. They could mean something if only brands cared to find out ways to connect the dots from a ‘fan’ page to real business objectives…all the while making sure that they continue to remain useful and interesting to those fans. You could very well ask if brands aren’t doing that already. They may be, but when big brands like Star embarrasingly focus on the numbers and not talk about what those numbers mean to them beyond a kumbaya-singing group, I doubt if they have thought through it.
From an agency’s perspective, it is equally important that a client listens when the agency recommends ways to connect the dots. We have had trouble on that front, but some clients are enthusiastically ready. There are so many ways to connect; tracking the views from a Facebook post to the corporate/ecommerce website…the number of people who used a offer from Facebook/Twitter to enable a transaction…the number of people who started in the Facebook page to reachaÂ download destination enabled by the brand…the number who did download the material on offer, subsequently…there are many, many metrics that could help business. An agency needs to be think beyond social media commoditization and help the client look in that direction too.
And no, I’m not going to claim that we’re the only agency doing this – of course not. I know a few agencies that are doing it already and doing it well too, incidentally. It’s just that they don’t make as much noise as the ones that don’t do it.
Pic courtesy EssG via Flickr.