Consumers in the new economy have a high sense of entitlement — always wanting this and that — but brands can be just as guilty. Brands yearn for followers, and many of the tactics they use on social media involve some kind of requirement to “like” or “follow” a certain number of people on their profiles. It’s the universal social currency that gives brands permission to market to their audience. But what they often forget is that people want followers, too! While brands spend all their time trying to grow their number of followers, they rarely follow these people back!
Are brands too good to follow back, or do they just not care? The latter is likely the unfortunate truth, which says a lot about how much they really have invested into their social presence. By not following back, brands give the impression that building relationships with potential and current customers isn’t high on their priority lists. The ironic part of it all is there are actually good reasons to follow people, including the following:
- It’s an open window directly to what the follower cares about. You can tell a lot about a person from what they post. Just think of all the information brands are missing on these individuals!
- It shows brands care. It’s flattering to be followed by a brand; to some, even exciting. Of course, there has to be follow-up with real engagement; you can’t just follow back and then stay completely silent.
- If a brand makes a concerted effort to follow people it knows are customers, analytics tools like Followerwonk can give great demographic analysis without having to mess with lists or extra app permissions.
- It gives brands extended permission to talk with their audiences. Talk WITH, not AT. Brands should try reading the profile or bio of the person before engaging with him or her.
- More information flowing through a social media feed can help give the brand a better feel for what’s happening in the world of its audience. What trends are happening? What stories does the audience care about?
While the majority of brands do not follow back, there is one brand that is just too quick for you to follow. Fiat Abarth 500 on Twitter follows no one, and no one can follow it, no matter how hard you try! Aside from this exception to the rule, brands should make a better effort at being interested in their followers.