Before you draw your conclusions, let's make it clear we understand this is a function of various factors and a 'like' or a 'follower' does not necessarily come from or represent an actual person. We all have bots in our lives. And, at the end of the day, firms (or even individuals) can literally 'buy' fans and followers, for a price of course. Yet, many firms are successfully using the social media networks for many things including CRM and so on.
Here we take a quick roundup of how some prominent e-tailers stand against each other in building this base. As you would see below there are some surprising elements (is fashion really that red hot!).
Sanjay Mehta, joint CEO, Social Wavelength says while most brands recognize the need for engaging customers on social media, what they are currently doing is just to acquire large fan bases. "So, while this generates a large fan or follower base, it is certainly not the same as an 'engaging presence'. What we find is a serious lack of a good social media strategy, and which will go to hurt these brands in the medium to long term," he said.
"While likes or followers are a surrogate for interest in an ecommerce site in general, the activity of fans and followers is a great surrogate for engagement and interest in an offer in particular," added Mehta.
This makes monitoring which deals are getting best responses and which offers/contests are getting more engagement, an easy marketing tool for the e-shops.
"While numbers of fans and followers only convey part of the story, they are nevertheless significant, especially for e-commerce sites. A fan or a follower is, in effect, providing an opportunity for communication and an opportunity for amplification. With the right content (deals or offers), these numbers can translate into phenomenal viral amplification," said Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO and co founder, Unmetric Inc.
The bottom-line remains that the number of fans or followers does not say much about the actual standing of the company in customer engagement and whether it is being used properly to reach out to the customers and understand what they want. We see one large ecom firm using their tweets primarily to bring users to their site to vote on winners of Indian Premier League (yeah!).
Can ecom firms generate customer loyalty through social media marketing or they have to live with consumers who like everyone and anyone who gives the best price? What do you think?