Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.
Facebook makes it easy and painless to give a thumbs-up approval to everything from a snarky status update to a favorite product or celebrity page. With a single click, we add to the number of loyal fans and gain a few seconds of cyber-transcendence.
But as business and brand pages seek to increase their fan count through social media campaigns and pushes, I am left perplexed. What tangible help is a high fan count when it only requires a quick click and no commitment? Competing brands may even collect “likes” from a single consumer… so which brand does that consumer prefer? “Likes” are a dime a dozen, and brands need to be careful not to count their coins too quickly.
- number of fans
- momentum (how quickly the brand has been acquiring fans lately)
- fan engagement (how often fans post on or interact with pages)
- emotional quality (how much/how positive emotion is expressed on comments)
The measurement of the relationship past the initial engagement (the click of the “like”) is key. Some “likes” are given merely to receive a one-time coupon or get entered into a giveaway; “Likes” given in that context are not relationally strong when compared to a loyal brand user.
In many ways, this person-to-brand index could be applied in person-to-person contexts. I may willingly give a thumbs-up to an acquaintance, but that doesn’t mean I will have regular, positive engagement with that person.
And what would the “Relationship Quality Index” tell me of my relationship with Jesus? (The book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman may address this very notion, but I’ve not read it yet.) Knowing Jesus is a relationship, not a one-time thumbs-up action.
Brands are clamoring for higher fan counts in the hope that those “likes” will turn into loyal customers. Interestingly, it seems that Jesus took the opposite approach: He didn’t seek the approval of the masses and instead invited those who really wanted to be with Him.
I realize that brand loyalty is fleeting and a relationship with a brand is silly when compared to loyalty to Christ and a relationship with Him. But the “Relationship Quality Index” reminds me that important relationships need more than an initial thumbs-up if they will grow into something valuable.