Social media never ceases to amaze me. The first social network I joined was Orkut (does anybody remember that?). I did use it on and off to interact with friends but nothing more. After a while I got bored and stopped using it. Then Facebook came along and everybody showered praises on how amazing it is and that Orkut will soon be dead. I created my Facebook profile and connected with my classmates, friends, acquaintances..
It really was a powerful platform. Most of my classmates from University had their profile on Facebook and we regularly chatted and stayed in touch, long after graduation. It would not have been possible in real life as we are spread all over the world, on every continent. This was back then when neither Facebook nor other companies exploited the full potential of this platform.
Social media has made marketing professionals rethink their strategy on how they acquire, connect with and retain their customers. I only checked few, but I believe every Fortune 500 company has a Facebook page today. It has become that important. Companies hire specialized professionals to cultivate their social media pages and “listen” to their customers. It is believed that the popularity of a brand is judged by the number of “Likes” its Facebook page gets. It’s a race to get as many Likes as possible.
Then there are more scientific ways of valuing a brand, like Millward Brown ranking based on BrandZ™ valuation method. Millward Brown ranks Google as the number 1 brand in the world, Google’s Facebook page has little 19 million likes, about the same as L’Oreal which is at number 36 as per the ranking. The picture below shows Facebook Likes vs. brand ranking as per Millward Brown. Even the brands ranked much lower seem to have a much larger fan base compared to more valuable brands up the ranking.
Using an even more detailed analysis using regression, I found that there is no correlation between a brands’ scientific rankings versus number of Facebook Likes. Surprising, because I truly believe some companies post very informative and valuable content on Facebook. Why don’t they get as many Likes then? That made me think about how people behave on social media. Do they really value “good content”? Should companies still invest in creating good content? Or rather focus on something else?
I’m pretty sure this will polarize opinion on this topic, but good content creation is a myth. People follow people and not content. If you consider brand as a person, which actually it is, people see how cool it is, how it matches their personality, what will their friends think if they associated themselves with certain brand, will it help their online persona. So many emotional aspects that the BrandZ™ method does not consider and that’s why the difference in brand ranking and Facebook likes.
Social media is really fascinating and I’m learning something new every day.