To rent or to own? With social, it depends
Home ownership is often connected to the notion of “freedom.” It’s also, historically, been an investment that appreciates over time.
65% of Americans own their homes. In Canada, it’s closer to 70%. On the flip side, there are many other parts of the world where people tend to rent rather than own.
During the economic downturn, the debate over home ownership versus renting has been heightened. In Britain, there’s an opinion that “declining home ownership is a national crisis.”
For marketers, “owning” a direct 1-to-1 connection with the right consumer is the holy grail. In spite of this, the advent of social media has resulted in brands shifting their CRM focus from owning to renting consumer connections.
In the world of social media marketing, the absolute number of fans or followers is often connected to the idea of social media “success.” However, a Page owner’s ability (or inability) to reach these fans through posted content has been a topic of much discussion. At the core of this challenge is that these fans are, in a sense, rented from Facebook, Twitter or other social channels. As a result, brands have less freedom, less control.
Just like monthly rental fees, the cost to reach your social fans or followers will continue to increase over time. As more money is spent, the benefits of owning a valuable group of consumers will not be realized.
When building CRM and social marketing plans for 2013 and beyond, you have a choice to make. Continue to borrow fans? Or, make it a priority to convert a percentage of social fans (and their data) into your consumer database system?
Just like in the property market, building longer-term equity through ownership may not make sense for everyone. There are many short-term brand benefits in continuing to activate fans on a 3rd party social platform. But, before blindly continuing down the path of spending money to connect with fans, have you at least weighed the pros & cons of renting versus owning?