How Valuable is a Social Media Audience, Really?

Much has been said about the state of digital audiences today, and even more about the myriad ways to build and engage these loyal consumers across social environments like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest and more. Promises of overnight brand scaling, more authentic audience relationships, and infinitely deeper behavioral data — made by the first wave of social middleware players like Buddy Media, Wildfire, Vitrue and dozens of other social CRM solutions — have lured everyone from global brands down to local musicians and artisans to the fray. And yet, as this audience revolution continues to unfold across the global business landscape, the pièce de résistance of reducing audience acquisition costs while simultaneously increasing the returns they generate remains an elusive balancing act. There appear to be a few key market principles driving the audience lifetime value ratio, and how digital marketers are using these principles to maximize their returns while shaping the future of the fan experience are cases to be learned from.

Contests are Not a Substitute for Content

An audience is simply a group comprised of individuals that share a common affinity or activity. To understand that audience — and best optimize its experience and potential for returns — we must understand the individual. To do this, we can employ Abraham Maslow’s 1943 paper, “A Theory of Motivation” which presents a framework still popular today for understanding the hierarchy of human needs and desires. – How Valuable is a Social Media Audience, Really? by Spencer Richardson

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