It’s Time Social Media Managers Stop Amassing Followers and Start Producing Sales

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Bernard Perrine, CEO of Twitter marketing firm SocialCentiv.

Since social media began in 2002 with the launch of Friendster and StumbleUpon, it’s always been about the numbers. On MySpace and LinkedIn, users sought to amass as many connections as fast as they could. When Facebook came along in 2004, the company introduced a cap of 5,000 friends on personal accounts. This same manic drive is apparent on every network since, including Twitter, where celebrities hire agencies to boost their follower numbers with dummy accounts.

That’s all fine for bragging rights, but when it comes to marketing, it makes zero sense. Having thousands, tens of thousands or more followers simply does not translate into “butts in seats.” And when it comes down to it, if marketing can’t provide some tangible ROI for a client at some point, then what good is it?

It’s understandable given that prior to social media, all communication strategies were based on reaching the widest audience possible for a message. If you were buying a newspaper ad (and could afford it), you wanted it in the New York Times or Saturday Evening Post. If you were selling commercial time in radio or TV, the slots during your most popular programs were priced the highest.

But as we all now know, social media completely changed that dynamic. Marketing went from one voice speaking to many to many voices speaking to each other, and the old rules don’t apply anymore. Take a look at Coca Cola’s Facebook page as an easy example. As of this writing, it had 96,545,016 likes. Now that’s certainly an impressive number, and any business should be flattered that 96.5 million people took the time to click a button on their screen. The most recent post is a video tie-in to promote the Coke Mini (a smaller can) using superheroes the Hulk and Ant-Man. The video has earned 113,000 likes, 41,917 shares and 3,469 comments. Again, impressive numbers. At least until they’re taken into context. That number of likes? It comes out to 0.12 percent engagement. The shares? A smaller 0.04 percent. And the comments? An even smaller 0.004 percent. Clearly, having a larger number of likes than there are people in Vietnam does not necessarily translate into a high percentage of engagement—never mind actual purchases.

Is it any wonder that advertising and marketing firms are growing ever more frantic, and their messaging is becoming evermore intrusive? People aren’t excited to have ad blockers on their smartphones because they’re the newest app; they’re excited because they’re sick of unwanted offers, autoplaying videos and badly disguised native ads getting in their faces.

Today, what matters more than the size of a campaign’s reach is the precision of its engagement. Marketing needs to move from carpet bombing the consumer to surgical strikes. And the way to do that is via intent-based marketing, in which it becomes possible to discern a consumer’s immediate frame of mind—his or her intent—and quickly act upon it.

After all, if a marketing campaign can deliver 50 percent, 75 percent or higher—how about over 100 percent?—engagement and CTR on its efforts, does it really matter how many likes it has on its Facebook page?

At SocialCentiv, we’ve made it our goal to drive engagement and CTR, and have developed patented and proprietary algorithms for identifying keywords and phrases on Twitter within geo-specific locations that signal a consumer is at the moment of making a purchasing decision. We are able to find those phrases and serve a rich offer within minutes.

One of the key past advertising and marketing strategies has been to generate enough exposure and touch points between a brand and consumers so that when a person is ready to buy, their memories of all those commercials sways their decision. SocialCentiv effectively short circuits that process. Instead of hoping the shopper remembers a particular brand better than others, we “magically” appear on their virtual doorstep, offer in hand.

Additionally, because we are having those conversations at the right moment, and are able to present a welcomed offer, the likelihood of that exchange being favorably viewed (and shared, retweeted, etc.) by the consumer’s social circle rises dramatically.

In an industry where the average CTR is 2 percent, the average for our clients is 34 percent, with some verticals scoring much, much higher—as high as 189 percent.

Technological advances have made it possible to zero in on a precise target in warfare. It’s long past time for marketers to make use of the technology that surrounds them and zero in on their precise targets, too, because the battle to capture consumer dollars continues.

TAGLINE: Bernard Perrine is co-founder and CEO of SocialCentiv, an intent-based Twitter marketing firm that drives an average of 34 percent click-through rates for its clients in a variety of sectors, including restaurants, events, food and beverage, and online retailers. For more information, visit or email