If your audience came to you because you promised them something for free or they were just hella clicky and aren't really a part of your target demo, think about the long term effects on your brand?! (I’m talking to the companies pouring their digital budgets in page likes and sweeps/giveaways.)
It's like paying someone to spin a sign outside your business, you may get a few impulse wanderers but probably not the long-term quality you're looking for.
I’m gonna go a super nerd route real quick because that’s the most natural for me. 🤓Let's use Facebook for an example. Lots of followers but no engagement on your page tells Facebook you aren’t as relevant... you get buried deeper in the algorithm. Meaning that your content will start being shown to less and less people. Assuming you’re spending dollars somewhere else on Facebook (hopefully), you actually may cause those ads to be more expensive depending on targeting and response rate, etc. We see this happen a lot when brands run giveaways on their page for people to "Like the page to enter." A huge influx of followers (yay?) followed by a significant drop in engagement and then the organic reach numbers completely tank, hurting your page in the end.
Back to the algorithm. Because you get pushed back in the Facebook algorithm (aka no one clicks on your content), you’re no longer getting great social signals. Why does that matter? Social signals to your website tells Google that they probably should show you in search results. But, because not many people are seeing your content, Google thinks searchers might not even really “like” or care about seeing your website. Boo, Google!
When you build your audience thinking about short term gains, you lose them long term. I’ll give you an example. Birchbox spent the first couple years of their business really setting the standard in the subscription box world. When the industry started to get noisier, what was their move? Get to know their best customers. Who are they, where do they shop, what do they love. What kind of products do they want to see, what kind of content will help them in conjunction with the products?
Birchbox spent years studying and getting to know their customers, enough to know that they aren’t forever buyers. So, what did they do? They started thinking about how to build off-ramps to serve the customer more holistically rather than “trapping” them in the subscription game. A partnership with Walgreens, a product to consumer app, etc. If you look at Birchbox's social strategy, at first glance you may think that it's not very polished. But when you notice their focus is on providing value and highlighting "real" rather than polished, you'll see why their attention on building it right, not building it quick, wins in the end.
After 9 years of being a $10 box, Birchbox finally raised their price point to support an increase in quality and new services. Guess what, their fans were thrilled! Yes, major support! Can you imagine what would happen if they bought their audience? They’d be one price increase away from completely falling flat online.
Customers respected the brand's need to evolve because they built their audience the right way with the long term game in mind. So far, consumers are getting behind the brand's new product assortments, Beauty Profile algorithm changes, loyalty program, and new makeup line set. If you posted on your page that you were hiking the prices, would your page be full of brand evangelists supporting the cause, customers looking for a freebie (hello giveaway audiences), or people who don't even know why you exist.
I’m telling you. Quality counts. Build it right, think long term. Use social for connecting with your audience and really getting to know them. Provide real value. And then when the time is right and your brand is ready to get to the next level, they’ll f*n crowd surf you there.
In fact if you don't think having a person waving a sign outside your business is a wise investment... then stop 👏 buying 👏 and 👏baiting 👏 your 👏 audience. Believe me - it's the same quality of audience, even if you can find someone as cool as this guy.
If you're a podcast listener, I highly recommend that you hear more from Birchbox's Chief Customer Officer on the CMO Podcast. Amanda's purpose is not to figure out how to be the biggest direct to a consumer beauty box, but to build an experience for their customers. It's a really great story! Also, word on the street is the Generation Social Media podcast by Chatterkick is launching very soon.