What Fans Want? A Skeptics View.
According to a much quoted study of reasons why people follow a brand (that is Like or subscribe to a brand on a social media property), it is discounts and promotions (36% on Facebook / 43% on Twitter). While I do not question the accuracy of the survey, I do think that it should not be used as the primary determinant of how your organization develops its approach to social media.
First, rewards and discounts may already be a part of how customers have been trained to “Like” a page or follow a brand. In other words, “reasons” as a data point says more about how brands have engaged on Facebook and Twitter and are not an insight into what people actually need/want from a brand. Second, on Facebook, rewards/discounts are often constructed to force a like in return for the offer – which therefore totally skews the figures: “the reason I followed this brand was because I had to in order to get the 10% off coupon”
Finally, not every brand is in a situation where discounts/promotions make any sense. Consider that discounts and rewards may be unsuitable if you run a luxury brand, or that if your brand promise is based on flawless customer service you may choose to focus on this customer need (or perhaps as a brand your reputation for poor customer service needs to be repaired). If you are trying to build a community of price-insensitive enthusiasts (usually a bit older and well-heeled) then running discounts may appeal to the wrong type of people and will drive down the affinity (and EdgeRank) of your group (I have lived through this scenario personally). The point is – statistics on what fan’s want can be misleading and aren’t the only question to ask when developing an approach on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. In the end you should develop an approach that satisfies identified needs of your community. Nice infographics with catchy data be damned.