Just because people “Like” your business on Facebook does not mean they love your business in reality.facebook logo - market research - iqs reseach

Quite a piece of clarity, isn’t it? It can be tempting to measure customer engagement or loyalty by Facebook Likes and posts, but that’s a foundation of sand. If some social media professional tells you that’s how they’ll measure your social media success, ignore them. It’s a poor measurement at best. At worst, you just paid a few thousand dollars to learn that lesson.

You can garner information and get a bit of a pulse about your exposure, as well as have some direct contact with customers – and those are all good things for your business.

But in reality, there could be several reasons people log on to Facebook and Like your site. Maybe you have a promotion or a giveaway. Or you’ve offered coupons on your page. Or maybe simple curiosity might have gotten people to connect with you. But don’t confuse that with loyalty. It takes a single mouse-click to like something; it takes months to earn the trust of a loyal fan.

Of course, it’s likely your avid fans are on Facebook as well, but you have to go deeper to really measure engagement that will translate into revenue. In business — in all of reality — hate is rarely the opposite of love, apathy is. And apathy, almost more than hate, is a business killer. Research we have performed interviewing thousands of customers in a variety of situations confirms that strong emotion is not present in most business relationships. The client doesn’t hate your business they just don’t really care.

What you really want is engagement…you want people to care. And the key to building engagement is understanding how to ignite that internal fire of your customers and turn that into action – to get people into your store or your website, to your seminars, or buying your products.

How do you know that the person walking into your store is a person who follows your business on Facebook? This is where good old-fashioned conversation can elicit the most effective results.

There’s a jewelry store here in Louisville, where every time someone makes a purchase, they’re asked what radio station they listen to. That’s because the store does all their advertising on radio. By asking which radio station the customer listens to ensures that the store is directing their advertising dollars to the right channel.

Take a page from their book. Ask your customers if they have seen your page on Facebook, or if they’re connected with you on Twitter. If they are, thank them, and be sure to engage with them more often. If they’re not, tell them how to find you, and reach out to them first.

What we have found at IQS is that the people coming into a business location on a regular basis might not ever touch that company on Facebook.

Frankly, it’s the people walking in your door who really should be your focus; all the better if they do interact with you on Facebook, but don’t depend on your Facebook advertising to speak to everyone.

Your best customers, your brand ambassadors, might not even have Facebook accounts. But they could be the most profitable people you have for your entire business.

So don’t depend on likes and follows on social media as the only measure of success. They’re often a poor indicator of whether you’re being successful. Your books and your accounts are a good indicator. How well you know your customers is a good indicator. And whether your customers are telling their friends about you is a great indicator.

But you just can’t accurately measure that online.