I just read a great phrase on Seth Godin’s Blog: “Scalejacking.” Dave Balter used this to describe going to a site that has a great number of users, trying to divert them to your promotion (whether they’re quality visitors or not,) getting your 1% conversion rate and calling it a day well spent. A good example would be the marketer who puts together a Twitter following of 30,000 users from anywhere, interested in anything, without any common values – just so when you post a link to your event on Upcoming or new white paper you can show how you got a huge number of page visits.
Being able to show large numbers is always important in proving the success of any campaign, particularly on line where it’s easier to prove large numbers. I take exception, though, to people who look to a follow count as a measure of success just because they can’t prove anything else. Marketers may try to tell you they’ve won a great battle for you by gaining a large follow count because they know the referral traffic from that Facebook Page – to say nothing of the conversion rate – in no way justifies the work that went into it. So instead they point to the huge jump in followers – and that just isn’t meaningful success.
Imagine this: You run a business in Phoenix doing custom hang glider detailing – let’s call the company, “Pimp my Glide,” because I’m just a whore for puns. You then go to Facebook and amass a huge following by giving away a lunch with Paris Hilton. (She’s a friend of your family’s, so the cost to you is only a meal for two.) In a few hours you have thousands of people on your page. A minority of them are in Phoenix, even fewer hang glide… but lookit all them followers!
Just getting followers is actually very easy work. Turning them into customers requires more finesse. This is the kind of thing PPC marketers have known for years. You can get people to your landing page easily enough, with the right keywords and budget; but getting them to continue through the chain to actually filling out a contact form and then buying something is the real goal.
Smart social media marketing requires this same dedication to getting visitors to cross that finish line, not simply getting them to a profile page, possible clicking on a link, and then calling it a day.