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Treat your fans with respect


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Marketers need to look beyond acquiring fans as a statistic and engage them to build a deeper relationship.

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Treat your fans with respect

  1. 1.            Treat  your  ‘Fans’  with  Respect  Pushkar  Sane    Marketers  need  to  look  beyond  acquiring  fans  as  a  statistic  and  engage  them  to  build  a  deeper  relationship.  |  @PushkarSane  |  |    
  2. 2. [TREAT  YOUR  ‘FANS’  WITH  RESPECT]        These   days,   ‘Fan’   has   become   the   most   commonly   used   (and   often   abused)   word  amongst   marketers   and   agencies.   It   comes   up   in   almost   all   meetings   and   discussions  related  to  digital  marketing.  There  is  nothing  wrong  in  expecting  people  to  like  your  brand  and  become  a  ‘fan’,  but  we  need  to  look  beyond  just  ‘fan’  acquisitions.    Recently,  I  have  seen  marketers  compare  notes  on  the  growth  in  their  ‘fan  base’  and  agencies   boasting   about   their   tactics   to   capture   new   fans.   Increase   in   ‘fan   base’   is  getting   quantified   and   specific   fan   acquisition   targets   are   appearing   in   briefs   with  other   key   performance   indicators.   Getting   people   to   press   the   ‘Like’   button   on  Facebook  or  getting  them  to  follow  you  on  Twitter  is  not  that  difficult.  But  keeping  them  engaged  in  a  dialogue  and  getting  them  to  market  your  brands  to  others  is  not  that  easy.    I   have   been   observing   activities   of   leading   brands   on   various   social   platforms   in  general   –   Facebook   and   Twitter   in   particular.   In   my   humble   view,   most   brands   make  the   mistake   of   using   their   fan   pages   as   an   extension   of   their   broadcasting  infrastructure.  As  soon  as  they  start  a  Facebook  page  or  a  Twitter  handle  they  flood  it  with  their  own  products  (or  services),  offers,  and  even  advertising  campaigns.  It  is  nothing   but   a   monologue   and   most   of   the   content   is   not   specifically   created   for  social  spaces.    For   example,   I   recently   saw   photographs   posted   by   Zara   on   its   Facebook   page   and   it  was   disappointing   to   see   the   photographs   without   any   description   and   tagging.   In  one  of  the  album  posts,  its  latest  magazine  issue  was  simply  scanned  and  uploaded  rather  than  making  that  content  suitable  for  Facebook.  To  me,  it  looked  like  a  missed  opportunity   as   hundreds   of   people   giving   their   thumbs   up   could   have   certainly  benefited   from   more   meaningful   and   customised   content.   I   have   taken   Zara   as   an  example,  but  unfortunately  it’s  not  alone  as  most  brands  are  in  the  same  boat.    ‘Fans’   are   passionate   about   brands   and   some   of   them   do   take   the   initiative   to  express   opinions   (positive   and   negative)   on   Facebook   walls   or   Twitter   handles   of  their   favourite   brands.   These   opinions   largely   emerge   out   of   their   personal   brand  experiences   (or   that   of   their   social   networks)   and   fortunately   they   care   enough   to  actually   post   their   opinions.   Needless   to   say,   most   marketers   don’t   like   negative  comments  coming  their  way,  but  engaging  in  a  dialogue  to  solve  problems  is  the  only  option   available   to   them.   Positive   comments   from   fans   are   always   accepted   with  pride   but   seldom   treated   with   gratitude.   I’m   amazed   to   see   there   are   so   many  positive   comments   on   brand   walls   but   almost   no   ‘thank   you’   notes   from   the   brands.  Showing   gratitude   towards   people   who   talk   positively   about   your   brand   can   only  enhance  your  relationship  with  them.  In  effect,  there  exists  an  opportunity  to  build  a  |  @PushkarSane  |  |  
  3. 3. [TREAT  YOUR  ‘FANS’  WITH  RESPECT]      deeper  relationship  with  people  who  are  passionate  about  your  brand  and  wanting  to  have  a  dialogue.    Most   discussions   and   strategies   around   ‘Fans’   are   about   bringing   them   to   a   brand  and   locking   them   in   as   long   as   possible.   It   is   like   a   one-­‐way   relationship.   Now  compare  this  with  any  real-­‐life  social  engagement.  Consider  this:    You   get   a   very   non-­‐personalised   party   invite   from   me.   You’re   still   kind   enough   to  accept   the   invitation   and   come   to   my   party.   When   you   arrive,   I   don’t   acknowledge  you   or   introduce   you   to   other   people.   Additionally,   I   keep   boasting   about   my  greatness   and   my   party.   I   avoid   you   when   you   try   to   have   a   counter   opinion   and  don’t  show  my  gratitude  when  you  say  nice  things  about  me.  I  don’t  really  care  about  your  meal  or  drink  preferences  and  serve  you  whatever  is  available.  I  interrupt  when  you  charm  other  people  in  my  party.  I  never  acknowledge  your  kind  gifts.  And  finally,  I   never   ever   come   to   your   party   but   I   expect   you   to   keep   coming   to   mine   every   time   I  organise  it.    The  question  is  “Will  you  come  to  my  next  party?”I  asked  this  question  to  my  friends  from   the   marketing   and   advertising   industry.   Needless   to   say,   all   of   them   came   back  with  a  resounding  NO.    Unfortunately,  our  industry  doesn’t  realise  we  treat  our  ‘Fans’  exactly  like  the  above-­‐mentioned  party  description.  We  expect  them  to  join  our  brand  pages  through  very  generic  invites;  when  they  do  join  our  party  we  don’t  acknowledge  them  enough,  we  don’t   introduce   them   to   other   like-­‐minded   fans,   we   don’t   want   their   negative  comments,  we  gloat  over  their  positive  comments  but  don’t  say  thank  you,  we  give  them   the   same   content,   and   we   don’t   thank   them   enough   for   their   business,   but   we  expect  them  to  keep  buying  our  brand  again  and  again.    Fortunately,  ‘Fans’  are  more  forgiving  than  my  friends,  and  they  still  come  to  brand  parties   despite   the   not-­‐so-­‐nice   treatment.   The   least   we   can   do   is   to   start   treating  them  with  respect  and  actually  go  to  a  fan’s  party  with  a  beautiful  gift.    Do  brands  have  the  courage  and  willingness  to  become  ‘Fans’  of  different  individuals  who  they  call  consumers?               (Originally  published  in  ClickZ.Asia  on  10  November  2010)  |  @PushkarSane  |  |