In this fast-paced, digital era, there is an enormous amount of emphasis and effort placed on numbers: How many likes do you have on Facebook? How about the number of followers on your Twitter? Number of visits on your website?
While the value placed on quantitative analytics is a justified means of measuring marketing success, it is not the only critical success factor. Equally important to the success of a digital media plan is the qualitative approach.
Before we delve into the meaning of a qualitative approach to digital media, it is important to understand one critical factor about the virtual beast we call The Internet. The Internet community is really just that, a community. You cannot just take from it without equally contributing in meaningful ways. Likewise, social media is meant to be a social sphere. Let’s just quickly recap what ‘social’ means. Social means fun and entertaining. Social means friends and meeting new people. Social does not mean the suspiciously enthusiastic party guest who showed up only to promote his pyramid scheme and increase his sales (I believe the widely accepted term here is party pooper). That’s right, don’t be a social media party pooper.
So what in the apple crumble does this all mean? In my research, I often see major brands that do not take the time to respond to their Facebook fans, their Twitter followers, or their Whoville Whoers. Whatever your social media medium, you must understand that quality is as important as quantity.
When I say that using a qualitative approach to digital media is important, I mean putting the social, the humanity back into the equation. People are not just numbers and we certainly don’t like to feel like we are “just a number.” By building relationships, creating meaningful connections, and engaging in two-way dialogues with your target markets, you will show them that they’re more than just a number. Leslie Hughes’s article “What Must Change In Social Media Marketing for 2015” expands on this point:
“paid, owned and earned media should be part of an integrated digital plan, but to obtain the almighty holy grail of Social Media – which goes by the letters ROI – it’s more cost effective for you to nurture the relationships and clients you currently have, instead of looking for ‘what’s next.’”
Some tips to remember when engaging with the online world:
- Respond to Facebook posts on your company page
- Thank customers online for feedback
- Like an image of a customer using your product
- Ask for customer feedback
- Engage your customer in your next campaign
- Use customer created content to fuel an online campaign
- Pay attention to why your customer loves you and not your competitor
- Learn your customers story – what brought them to you? What makes them special?
- Recognize or reward your most active followers – let them know they are important to you and that they are not just a number
Don’t take yourself so seriously, have some fun, and have a D-I-A-L-O-G-U-E with your customers (you know that thing where two or more people speak back and forth on the same topic). Can you think of a brand that is doing an amazing job at engaging with their customers online?