It is common to think of social media marketing as a tool for attracting customers. However, few firms measure the effectiveness of social media precisely, and recent articles have even questioned the value of likes. I’d suggest that social media marketing should be evaluated through a customer engagement lens.
In a May 2013 Marketing News column, I defined customer engagement in terms of “active involvement,” suggesting it can lead to “deep commitment” through the customer’s progressive investments in the relationship. I believe that social media marketing should be held to a higher standard than conventional media given its ability to affect the entire engagement-commitment continuum.
People are drawn to social media sites by a common interest or a need that’s often neither product- nor brand-specific. The marketer’s challenge is to transfer some of that engagement to the brand. This is easier when the site is brand-affiliated, as in owner/user forums or company Facebook pages. In some cases marketers can pull the community together and can join the dialogue.