A brief study of a few random social media sites has illustrated the range of ways in which those sites display their ‘sign up’ and ‘sign in’ links. Some seem to be focussed on getting people to join their network, become part of their community, add to the numbers. Whilst others are apparently more interested in making it as easy as possible to return and rejoin the fun – to sign in.

In the case of social networks, the balance of how much they care about new or returning members is clearly illustrated by how obvious and easy they make it to sign-up and sign-in. In other businesses, there are other indicators. So how about your business? Are you looking to engage or grow? For the vast majority of businesses, the aim is to have a bit of both – reach new people and encourage them to get to know your business and ultimately buy your products or services, join your revolution or support your cause. But there will always be a bias. And that bias permeates everything you do.

For example, do people who are just discovering your brand want to know about the tiny adjustments and refinements you have made to your product line? Or are they more interested in why you created your products in the first place? If your aim is primarily to grow the number of people that know about your brand then you are much better off creating compelling, useful, sharable content that will be spread between friends.

However if your aim is primarily to engage with your existing customers, encourage them to buy more, to be more deeply engaged with your cause, then you should focus all your efforts on letting them in on your secrets – make them feel special and as though they are a part of a small group of privileged people.

Making a decision about this is important. Obviously growth and engagement can exist hand-in-hand, but there will (and in fact should) be a bias. What is yours?



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