At the forefront of social media conversations, the topic du jour seems to be the importance of generating ‘likes’ or ‘fans’. Your company has 2000 likes on Facebook? Well, ours has 6000. Does that make us any better?

I have found some interesting articles on the subject, most recently relating to a keynote discussion at the Social Media World Forum Europe, held in London on March 29th. In his address on the Socialisation of the Internet, agency sales group head at Facebook, David Parfect, challenged this thinking. He stated that “just because a brand has 17,000 fans on Facebook, that does not mean these fans are engaged with them. That is just where the marketing should start.”

I cannot agree more with David Parfect. Generating a ‘like’ is similar to having a customer subscribe to your email database. If you do nothing with that subscription, in terms of engagement, you’ve lost. Regardless, so many times success is measured by the number of fans on your Facebook page, not how successfully you engage with them, or how many continue to interact with your brand. It also reminds me of online advertising – an impression is great, but if it’s not meaningful or engaging, it’s relatively useless.

I thought this was important to point out as brand building is as much about engagement as it is about awareness. Yet, so many times we seem to get lost in the numbers – how many ‘likes’ we have, how many followers or how many subscribers. Take a minute to step back and look beyond the numbers – think about quality engagement and building brand advocates rather than simply someone who will like your brand today, and forget about it tomorrow. These kind of brand advocates are harder to find, and even harder to measure, but they are worth it.

When it comes to Social Media, we’re not on the elementary school playground anymore. Even if people like you, they don’t necessarily want to hang out with you all the time.

How would you measure success when it comes to Social Media marketing?

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