Earlier this year, a report came out from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute that I’ve seen popping up again and again with people talking about how only one percent of people who click the “Like” button on Facebook actually engage with the brand. (BTW, if you don’t know who Andrew Ehrenberg is, you need to find out.)
There are SO many directions we can go with this report, like going down that deep and dusty path trying to define what “engagement” really means. Or talking about the value of a like or a fan. Or what brands should really be using Facebook for.
But I don’t want to go down any of those no-win rabbit holes. Instead, I want to talk about that 1% (and no, not in the Occupy Wall Street kind of way). I don’t see why so many people are surprised at this number…because this has always been the case. The social media kids are saying that 1% is a terribly low number and then they’ll show you 10 tips on how to raise that number. But I have to tell you that even waaayyyy back in 2006, the Creating Customer Evangelists kids, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, talked about the 1% rule by citing data from Wikipedia and Yahoo that found that 1% of the users overwhelmingly create most of the content.
Breaking it down even more, there’s the 90:9:1 rule, which says that 90% of people who come to your site will lurk, 9% will contribute and 1% will create content.
My point? Don’t freak out about only 1% of people engaging with your brand. Especially on common sites like Facebook. Now, if you create a brand ambassador program and you only get a 1% participate rate, you’re doing something wrong. In fact, the average participation in brand community sites is less than 10%. That’s not so great. And I can tell you from experience that if you build it the right way, you can get a 30%+ engagement rate, which opens all sorts of doors.
So before you go wringing your hands about only having a 1% engagement rate on Facebook, think about it differently. Like what you can do with that 1%. Ohhhh, the possibilities. These are hand-raisers. These are evangelists. These are the people that already spread word of mouth about you (hopefully in a good way). Create offline experiences with them. Ask if they want to engage deeper on other platforms. Or learn about the inner-workings of your company and products. So yes, in this case we’re talking about quality rather than quantity. Because, as we are quickly learning, on Facebook and Twitter, numbers – unless they’re sales numbers – don’t mean a whole lot.