By Eran Gefen
These days, most companies are obsessed with counting their fans and followers instead of turning them into real customers.
At a recent meeting of online community managers in New York, the social media director ofFast Company said her bosses mainly measured success by the number of reported followers. But she noted it probably wasn't the best metric for gauging success.
LikeFast Company, brands have been rushing to collect fans over the last two years with many achieving impressive results. The Pringles Facebook page, for example, has a whopping 10 million fans. Problem is, only a tenth of one percent of them actually did something on the chip-maker's site in the lastthree months.
To move to the next stage in the social media evolution, associations and other brand organizations need to start focusing on actively engaging their fans over a sustained period of time. An active fan is one who has a relationship with a brand and, at least once a month, reacts to posts on the brand page, indicates a liking for various content, retweets a brand's messages, or creates original content on the page.
Marketing, as we all know, is a call to action. In creating active fans, every association has to chart its own path. Associations have to decide whether they want more comments on their pages or if they prefer to convert fans into ambassadors who spread the message. Do you want fans to visit your online store or play games that indicate what they are interested in?
We are nearing the end of social media's buzz stage – where everyone is doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Associations now have to begin harnessing the value of their social media fans or risk being left in the dust.
Eran Gefen is the chief executive officer and co-founder of FanGager.