It’s Not The Number Of Followers That Count, But What You Do With Them

Value of an Existing Customer

Value of an Existing Customer

You spend so much time working on increasing your followers. Tracking for keywords, following relevant people hoping they will follow back.

Your followers grow but it still all feels a bit empty? Don’t worry, it’s quite natural.

We all have a tendency to focus on the numbers.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or even our Email List, we are always working on acquiring more subscribers. Is this really what we should be doing?

Existing Customers Spend More

There are many studies that show existing customers spend more. The cost of getting further sales from an existing customer is much lower than that required to aquire a new one. The same goes for subscribers and followers. It’s much easier to get existing followers to convert into customers and advocates than it is to convert new ones. Yet we tend to put little emphasis on this.

Banks as an example; you’ll see an offer like:

“Sign Up Today and Get 5% Interest”

Note: Offer Applies to New customers Only!

What happened to the existing loyal customer that has been with the bank for 25 years? Where is their reward?

It’s this drive for larger numbers that has us missing the point.

Engagement is the Key Metric

The hub to your success in Social Media is all based around engagement. The interaction between you and existing followers or subscribers. As your engagement grows all other metrics will increase. You’ll gain authenticity, grow trust, build advocates, leading to sales (or whatever end result is your ultimate aim).

Scott Stratten, known as @unmarketing on Twitter, is a fantastic example. He has over 100k followers and has sent over 80k Tweets. The thing is that 75% of those Tweets are @ replies; that is, they are Scott engaging with someone else in a conversation. Taking an interest in others leads people to taking an interest in you.

Now I have talked a lot on this blog about building a following by posting regularly and sharing information. You should still do this, especially so if you are starting out; you do need a certain amount of followers to gain traction in the first place. What you mustn’t do is forget the conversation. It’s here you will build strong relationships from which you can grow your business.

Have a Conversation

So try it. Next time you fire up Twitter, go on Facebook or read someones blog, pass comment. Make sure you’re sincere, and no, saying “Nice blog post here’s a link to my site” does not count. Get in a real conversation about a real issue, suggest a solution or another perspective. Remember to come back. A conversation isn’t a one time deal, to really engage you need to keep coming back for as long as necessary.

This is where scale is an issue. And why large numbers of followers mean nothing. It’s those you engage with regularly that will become your advocates, customers or fans. You can only do this effectively with so many people. Therefore when you do engage you need to put the whole of yourself behind it. You can even test this. Find a person like Scott with a large following, wait for him to be online and try to say “Hi”. Chances are you won’t get a reply; if you prove me wrong let me know in the comments below.

But if you monitor his conversation and comment on a topical point, you’ll probably get a reply. Once you have the reply, where you take the conversation is up to you, but we now have an “Existing Customer”.

Now what are you going to do next, look for a new one or work with what you’ve got?

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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  • Spot on Sean – this is why I recommend your posts.

  • @HuwSayer:disqus Much appreciated Thanks

  • I love this post.  I believe that community is the best thing you can create with social media… not a mass following.  The best way to create a community is to become a part of it and create niches within.  So treat your tweeps like your neighbors and you’ll go far!

  • @TylerWardIsBored:disqus Wow, Thank You. You tack on an great additional point about niches within a community, this creates even stronger relationships.

  • Thank you! I am thinking about writing a blog post on why you should treat your tweeps like a neighbor.

  • @TylerWardIsBored:disqus Yep, that would make a good tie-in

  • What I love most is your comment about the special offer for new customers only. I see it time and time again. The offer comes up and existing customers feel neglected cause they aren’t getting any reward for their loyalty. Businesses should run promos for existing customers only, but show potential new customers that they reward a good relationship.

  • @twitter-73213285:disqus You’re right, but even when they do, the offers for existing customers are usually a lot less attractive than for new ones!