Use Social Media for Followers, Fans and Viewers

The following is an excerpt from the just released, in-depth report “Social Media Success: Best practices for creating, implementing and managing social media marketing strategies, plus 7 multidisciplinary case studies” from DirectMarketingIQ. Click here to find out more.

In recent years, there has been a global shift all marketers had to face head on. No longer can marketers push out advertising messages and expect a traditional order path. Impulse buying has given way to informed and researched buying via search engines, comparison shopping sites and more. The most important shift, however, has occurred through social media.

The end goal of all social media marketing should be engagement and brand advocacy. The stepping stone from each stop in the hierarchy is about trust. Consumers look to social media marketing as a way to gain the trust they need in your brand to move forward in the cycle. Thus, a visible representation of engagement that looks like this:

1. Casual follower
This is a person who follows you on some of your social media properties. She lightly listens to your messaging. From a psychological perspective, there was a reason she became a fan, but she hasn’t been given enough of a reason to fully engage yet. This will likely be the largest group in a marketer’s fan base.

The casual follower may already be your customer, but usually isn’t. The casual follower presents a great opportunity to be drawn out via engaging content and nurtured into the next category.

2. Engaged follower
The engaged follower has already built up some trust for your brand. He looks out for your tweets, videos and Facebook posts. While the engaged follower still might not be your customer yet, he’s more likely than not already buying from you. If not, he will eventually become your customer once he fully trusts you. The engaged follower will respond when drawn out with proper content and will likely become very vocal on your social media sites.

3. Brand advocate
The brand advocate is almost always your customer. She trusts you and your company a great deal (unless the company does something to break that trust). The brand advocate will always be vocal on your social media properties and will recommend you to her followers both on and offline. Naturally, she represents the smallest group of your followers, but brand advocates become the dominant players in social media and can help your company set the tone in the channel.

Jim Gilbert, CEO of a multi-discipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., has been creating direct marketing programs that drive ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations and analytics, he marries strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing seamless fashion that gets results. Gilbert is also the social media director for The Fresh Diet, a gourmet home meal delivery company. Since taking the position, the Facebook following has grown from 94 fans to more than 25,000 and the Twitter following to more than 9,000 people. He can be reached at

Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the 'next level.' He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.