At the beginning of February, Applebee’s decided to promote its new bowl dish on Social Media. The strategy used a hashtag to create engagement: #IrresistABowls. The reaction was immediate, but probably not for the reasons the company expected. Soon the hashtag that was trending was #IrritableBowels.
According to Statista, in 2018, there were about 243.6 million social network users in the United States, around three-quarters of the country’s population. There is no question about the value of social media to marketers. However, if social marketers want to make their social media strategy efficient, they need to understand that social media is about connecting with people.
The 2019 Sprout Social Index shows that half of the consumers follow a brand to learn about new products and services, and 48% follow brands to be entertained. On the other hand, poor customer service is the main reason why consumers unfollow a brand on social media, followed by posting irrelevant content. The study surveyed more than 1,000 social marketers and more than 1,000 consumers.
Vanity metrics like followers, likes, or hashtags are just part of the story. Customers expect to connect with brands through useful information, quality entertainment, excellent customer service, and relevant content. The critical action, as Applebees illustrates, is making sure that your social media is creating a positive connection to customers. In essence, they need to laugh with you, not at you.