Home > Business Strategy, Marketing > Why do we treat NEW friends better than OLD friends?

Why do we treat NEW friends better than OLD friends?

Note: The views expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Ally Bank. I have included this video to illustrate a point.

Twitter’s recent 5th Birthday was a significant milestone. Almost half a million twitter accounts are created daily which means more people on Twitter, more brands on twitter, more potential followers and more creative ways for companies to activate this audience via promotions, contests and giveaways.

You have no doubt seen contests like this one on facebook & twitter:

Twitter contest

It’s an attempt to promote your company by offering people an incentive to follow or like your brand. This acquisition strategy is typically reserved for big banks (Brilliantly illustrated by Ally Bank above) and telecommunications companies (New customers get a free HDPVR if you switch from your cable provider – Existing customers get nothing).

Why do we treat new friends better than old ones?

I think this strategy is backwards in Social. I understand that companies are looking for a way to monetize these platforms, but touting the number of followers you have or your likes on Facebook not only means nothing to your executives, it demonstrates no engagement with your audience.

And, there are other consequences of these types of ‘new follower’ promotions:

  • Existing follower/like base is highly likely to follow/unfollow, follow/unfollow, like/unlike, like/unlike you several times in an effort to qualify for the promotion. This leads to unnecessary monitoring and management of your followers.
  • Your existing follower base is likely following you because they like your products and want to remain in touch with you for special offers. They are likely to unfollow you/unlike you for good and never return.
  • People are only liking your brand in response to a promotion. It’s unlikely that they truly ‘Like’ your brand and are unlikely to recommend you to their followers.

Here’s a thought: A contest for everyone!

If you truly want to add to your engaged audience, not annoy your existing fans/followers and improve how you are being perceived by your Social audience, why not run a promotion such as this:

“As soon as we hit 10,000 followers (whatever the level) we’ll hold a random draw to give away a Blu-Ray DVD player to one of our lucky followers!”

You will notice the following:

  • Through Retweets and sharing on Facebook, your existing base of followers/likes will actively promote YOU as they try to help you hit the promotion level.
  • Higher retention of followers. People will assume this isn’t a one and done promotion and will follow you longer.
  • Although it has no meaning, you will quickly increase the number of followers/likes you have on Facebook/Twitter
  • You won’t exclude anyone that shouldn’t be excluded & won’t annoy your base of existing followers.

Now, go do it. I’m frantically following & unfollowing the above company in order to try and win the £20 Online Voucher!

  1. March 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Businesses treat new clients or customers better than old ones for the same reason that some people treat their new friends better than old ones. They figure that they already have these people as customers and they no longer need to impress them. Basically they take their old clients for granted. I have been treated this way by both friends and businesses and it gives me the same feeling in both instances. Successful businesses and good friends share some common traits. They will respect you for the entire length of the relationship, and they won’t take you for granted. Thanks for the post. This is an interesting topic.

    • March 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Absolutely agree – this applies to relationships with friends as well.

  2. W Yau
    March 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    The other question is: Why do we treat friends better than family?

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