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!