3 Types of Acquisitions in Social Media

Starting out on your social media journey can be difficult at times. We often hear questions like ‘how do you get that first ‘Like’ on Facebook?’ and ‘why would someone follow us?’ These types of questions are not just limited to newcomers of the social world but also advanced, long-term members too. Long-term users of social media usually get to a point where they hit a ‘wall’ and it becomes difficult to increase their following – it has reached its terminal velocity, or so it seems.

It is important to have a growth strategy with social media but it is also essential to understand the 3 different types of acquisitions. Without understanding these then you cannot realistically understand your audience and their value to you.

So here they are - the 3 types of acquisitions in social media:

  • Organic
  • Encouraged
  • Incentivised


Organic is the purest, truest form of acquisition. When a user is fully committed to your values and mission they will interact with your brand because they want to. They will either be familiar with your brand through offline channels or have found you online, virally.

Your school needs to be delivering a valuable proposition online in order for people to organically engage with you.

Often, loyalty plays a big part of organic acquisition. eMarketer recently reported that 49% of Facebook users deemed a 'like’ as a sign of loyalty to that brand.

Organic fans have a great tendency to be strong advocates for your brand – they are invaluable. This level of advocacy and loyalty is often found with alumnae. These will be the most likely to be your organic fans early on in your social media process.

Value - Very High


In order to receive 'Likes’ and 'Retweets’ it is sometimes necessary to encourage users. “Like us on Facebook” is a common approach but how different is this to Coca-Cola creating a print advert with the copy - “BUY US IN TESCO.” Would that technique work? Well maybe, but there needs to be a value proposition. A person needs a reason to engage with you.

It is often the silent users who look in on conversations but do not participate that need encouragement in order to show the level of commitment required for an acquisition to occur. This makes it difficult to understand the value of these members. They may be just as committed to the cause as the organic fans but as they are silent users they are less likely to be advocates online. However, it is hard to measure their offline influence.

Value - Medium/High


When a brand’s message is not organically strong marketers sometimes resort to incentivising members in order to draw them into their proposition. An example of this occurs when brands create campaigns such as “Like us and receive 25% off your next order” or “Follow us on Twitter to receive a free eBook”.

This is sometimes a useful method in order to ‘get the numbers up’ but how valuable are these members? Are they committed in your message or brand if they have to be incentivised? There is always time for you to convert these members into a more valuable one but it is inevitable that many of these members will be lost along the way as they only signed up for the incentive.

Value - Low

Do you segment your acquisitions into types? Will you be employing this method?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!