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Brands & Followers: The Major Disconnect in Social Media Marketing

Have you ever seen a blog or article titled something along the lines of “How to Up Your Twitter Followers,” or “Get More Likes on Your Brand’s Facebook Page”?

Probably about once a day, if you follow social media marketing trends. The blogosphere is chock-full of hints, tips and best practices for upping these numbers and engaging with customers through social media. But what is it that actually drives your followers to click the “Like” button, or to invite your daily updates into their Twitter feed?

According to this Star Group blog post, it’s not what you think.

Based on a survey conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Lithium (a social media tech firm), Star Group’s blog post compares responses from over 1,300 consumers and over 120 CMOs on the reasons behind consumer engagement with brands’ pages. And the results show a glaring disconnect between why consumers engage with brands through social media and why businesses think they do.

Before delving too deeply into an analysis of these statistics, it’s worth noting that some of the wording in this study could have potentially thrown off participants. It seems that different options were given to consumers and CMOs. For example, while consumers were able to choose “For the games, contests, and promotions,” CMOs had to choose between “They are looking for incentives of rewards for engaging with the brand,” and “They are looking for special savings or events just for followers.” Additionally, the answer “The content is agreeable,” could cause confusion considering the term “content” embodies pretty much everything. However, despite these discrepancies, one thing seems clear: consumers are looking for a high level of engagement with a brand’s social media marketing, and they expect to be rewarded for their follow.

So what does this mean for B2B marketers?

It’s time to get creative. Many B2B companies might not have the benefit that B2C companies have of drawing customers to their social media sites with flashy advertising, discount coupons or product giveaways. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with a simple contest to encourage followers to interact with you and your product (bonus points if you can get clients interacting with one another). And consider rewarding your most engaged followers with some company swag from time-to-time — if your followers are enthusiastic enough about your product to seek you out on social media, they probably wouldn’t mind sporting a free t-shirt with your name on it.

The most important thing to take away from these statistics is that your social media outlets need life and personality. White papers, instructive content, product information and support can all be found on your company’s website — consumers come to your social media outlets looking for unique interaction that they can’t find elsewhere, so think outside the box.

Keeping these statistics in mind, what are some unique ways that B2B marketers can engage their followers through social media?