Digital marketers do not believe that the most commonly used tactics for acquiring Facebook fans and Twitter followers are very effective in delivering quality community and audience members, according to a recent report from ExactTarget.

In the case of Facebook, the two most popular tactics are (1) displaying a Facebook Like button or link on a website (93% use them, but only 46% rate them as effective), and (2) including a Like button or link to a Facebook Page in emails/newsletters (70% use, 35% rate effective).

The report was based on data from a survey of 395 digital marketers mainly from the United States. Respondents were asked to first identify the tactics they use to grow their Facebook and Twitter fan bases and then to rate how effective they consider those methods are in producing quality audience members. The survey also polled marketers on the effectiveness of email acquisition tactics.

Effective Facebook Tactics

For acquiring Facebook fans, several community-involvement tactics are considered highly effective, though many digital marketers don't employ them:

  • Organic growth methods, such as engaging in conversations (58% use, 67% rate effective).
  • Working with influencers/bloggers (33% use, 56% rate effective).
  • Facebook contests requiring fans to submit their own content (36% use, 54% rate effective).

Some other underutilized tactics with perceived high effectiveness are...

  • Facebook ads: Sponsored Stories (25% use, 67% rate effective).
  • Facebook ads: Display ads/non-Sponsored Stories (30% use, 52% rate effective).
  • Answering customer service questions on Facebook (34% use, 69% rate effective).
  • Directing people to Facebook for customer support (17% use, 50% rate effective).
  • Regularly offering FAQs and how-to content on Facebook (29% use, 50% rate effective).

Twitter Tactics

As with Facebook, many of the most popular tactics for acquiring Twitter followers are not considered highly effective in producing quality audience members.

Those tactics include adding a Twitter button or link to a website (65% use them, 43% rate them effective) and incorporating a Twitter button or link in emails/newsletters (64% use, 32% rate effective).

Along with organic growth (45% use, 61% rate effective), marketers cited the following tactics as effective:

  • Product/prize giveaways with "follow" required (20% use, 57% rate effective).
  • Working with influencers/bloggers to promote a Twitter profile (28% use, 51% rate effective).
  • Publicly answering customer service questions on Twitter (27% use, 60% rate effective).
  • Regularly offering FAQs and how-to content in tweets (22% use, 59% rate effective).

Only a small percentage of marketers surveyed use ads to acquire Twitter followers. However, the tactic shows promise: of the 6% of respondents who advertise their Twitter profiles via paid search ads 50% say the tactic is effective.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 395 digital marketers predominantly from the United States. Of the marketers surveyed, 36% were B2B marketers, 35% were B2C marketers, and 29% were involved with both B2B and B2C marketing. The survey was conducted between June 20 and August 5, 2013.

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The Most Effective Tactics for Acquiring Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji