People like to say perception is reality, but that adage can lead you astray when there’s a gap between the two.

IBM recently published a study identifying a wide perception gap between what brands think consumers want out of their social relationships with brands and what their brand enthusiasts’ actual motivations are for Liking or following brands.

The largest perception gap surrounds discounts and purchases.

The study found the top reasons brand enthusiasts follow brands are to receive discounts and to make purchases, while brands think these reasons are the least significant, listing them at the bottom.

Brands, on the other hand, think brand enthusiasts follow for more intimate, less actionable reasons.  They list “learn about new products” and “submit opinions on current products and services” as their top reasons.  Brand enthusiasts actually find these reasons to be less enticing and rank them in the middle of their motivators.

At Context Optional, we enable brands to “mind the gap” and discover, through rich engagement experiences, benchmarking and analytics, what exactly their brand enthusiasts want from them.  Here are some tips:

  1. Ask for input from your community:  It can be as simple as launching a poll or posting a question as a Status update.  Facebook isn’t an island; we recommend doing market research across the multiple channels, for example in stores or via email, where you interact with customers.
  2. Keep a pulse on the engagement: Track what initiatives are getting the most interaction and engagement over time by collecting and analyzing data.  Engagement happens around posts and applications in the News Feed, on Pages and on your domain website.  Engagement also happens through Likes on the Open Graph.  Through our integrated Dashboard you can manage and measure all of these engagement statistics. Our Social Marketing Suite provides detailed Page, post and app stats that provide insight into what initiatives are winners and which didn’t engage your base.
  3. Give fans what they want:  Look at your wins—if fans rally around a video contest, utilize more contests; if a Stream App had thousands of views, consider launching one every week; if you see a large number of posts regarding customer service issues, moderate more closely to ensure issues get resolved.  Don’t just embrace your successes, build on them.

Don’t let your social marketing initiatives fall into the gap.

Let us know how we can help!