I think it’s accepted wisdom that “likes” or “followers” is not a useful measurement. It’s a very easy action for a visitor to make – it is just a click – so it doesn’t tell you very much about the visitor’s sentiment. It’s also risky in that focussing only on likes would lead to a company taking a short term approach to social media and building campaigns that generated likes but ultimately destroying value.
So companies look for other measures;
- visitor engagement – comments, content shared, content submitted
- business goal – ideally social media is connected to a business goal; eg; are the calls to call centres reduced by webcare? has the customer perception of the brand changed?
But I think in some cases measuring fans (to use an older term) is a measure of engagement.
I was listening to KLM’s Director of Corporate Communications and Media, Joyce Veekman, at a conference last week and she said that one of their goals is to reach 2 million Facebook likes this year. They reached 1 million in January of this year, and created a cute thank you video, at the time of the presentation the talley stood at 1349086.
KLM have tried stuff in social media for a while, but became very active when the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull closed airports and stranded visitors across Europe. That was the moment the KLM management “got it” and started supporting the use of social media. Since then they’ve developed a 24/7 approach to their webcare, built a following on facebook, experimented with pinterest and developed innovative campaigns – such as their “meet and seat” programme.
In KLM’s case I suspect the depth and richness of their social media is earning them “likes” and “follows”, and the steady growth in those figures is a reflection of engagement.
I need to add here that “likes” is not the only measurement KLM uses, and it’s not their only goal in their social media activities. They have other business goals related to customer service and brand perception with appropriate measure systems in place. “Likes” is just one measurement – and it’s an easy and visible measure of their progress.
Postscript; KLM’s total number of likes on Facebook now stands at 1360329, a growth of more than 11k in four days.