Making Facebook Work for Your Brand

Last week, I explained the new Facebook and its importance (challenges and opportunities) for brands. This week, I would like to take this one step further.

The question to ask is “how will people appreciate, engage, and interact with your brand’s Facebook page?” If you have a brand Facebook page, are you going to be happy with building the “Field of Dreams?” Build it and they will come? Or is the answer that you need to understand your target audience and their behaviors?

A while back, I wrote an article “The Most Important Word for Marketing.” I stated that empathy was imperative because nothing topped having the knowledge of your target audience. Empathy makes it much easier to define your product/service, story, position, and message for your potential customers.

I will add one more important factor as it relates to having a successful Facebook brand page and interactivity. That would be understanding your potential and existing audience’s behavior. As marketers, we want to change behavior to our brand’s benefit and ultimately drive transactions. To best understand your audience’s behavior, simple – talk to them. Next step, collect data and evaluate. What types of posts do the best? What day and time of day works best for reaction and correspondence? The information is there, it is just that so many do not bother to look at it.

Recognize that digital behavior varies by people (demographic and psycho-demographic groupings) and vertical industries. A good source for understanding digital behavior is Forrester’s Social Technographics. Check out both Forrester’s post and Forrester’s slides.

When planning your strategy and communication plan on Facebook, think about engagement and interactions. Nothing could be more important. Do you know why? Why your CEO might think this is important? Because “engaged customers spend 30% more” (according to a Bain and Company report). Pretty powerful!

Now let’s talk about Facebook engagement for a minute. So many people are transfixed on the number of likes for their brand. Well you know what? I can get you one million likes, no problem. We’ll just give away a brand new iPad to every new fan. Yeah – I know this sounds crazy. But it’s just as crazy for so many brands to worry about the number of likes they have and not pay equal or more attention to how they are going to get those fans to interact.

So I always tell all my clients that the number of fans is important, but not the end all. It represents the magnitude of people that “could” engage with the brand. So pay attention to building up that number. But let’s pay equal, if not more, attention to getting our fans (or “likes”) engaged. And now Facebook puts this number out front and center for us.

It is called “talking about this.” So in the example above, Starbucks has almost 30 million likes, and about 300K talking about them. This is about one percent of their likes. I suggest brands work to get at least five percent.

The “Talking About This” number is the unique users that have interacted with the brand on Facebook. This includes:

• liking a page
• posting on the page wall
• liking a post
• commenting on a post
• sharing a post
• answering a question
• RSVPing to a page’s event
• mentioning the page in a post
• tagging the page in a photo
• checking in at a place
• sharing a check-in deal
• liking a check-in deal
• writing a recommendation

All of these activities are very important. When a Facebook user “talks about this” (the brand), the action shows up as a post on their friends’ news feed. Thus the action and exposure of the brand is shared … the brand is shared with a larger audience. In the article I wrote last week, I talked about the mere exposure brands got on users’ Facebook page. Just 16 percent. The new Facebook (paid) reach generator increases likelihood the posts will be seen on fans’ news feed.

Yes, getting your post viewed is extremely important. But you should also be building a plan to increase the value Facebook plays for your brand and your audience. Anyone can put up a Facebook page. Be the brand that designs a Facebook page AND interaction strategy and plan that yields measurable results.

If I were to give one suggestion how to go about a winning Facebook mentality it would be to think like the producers of “American Idol.” Why is American Idol so appealing? I think it really comes down to three factors:

1) To begin with, American Idol has really good, compelling owned media. The contestants they present are talented and provide something that most people enjoy.
2) They make the audience part or their product. You, as a viewer have an active and important role in their product offering.
3) Even if you are not one that votes on contestants (review Forrester’s Social Technodemographics for participation levels), the fact that so many do interact adds validity and value to the product. The American Idol is selected by the target audience. Not some executives that are removed from pop culture.

Think about what it means to proactively give your audience some important function, aspect, or voice for your brand. Don’t be afraid … it is likely to happen without your involvement. So given this is the reality of the social world we live in, influence that participation to your benefit.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve


Filed under behavior, brand communication, brand marketing, brands, Facebook, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

2 responses to “Making Facebook Work for Your Brand

  1. Jim Matorin

    I am still struggling when it comes to my FB strategy mainly because I am confused of its value for my Tribe. When my Tribe is on FB they are using this platform to connect with friends. As their friend they are connecting via my blog which they have all they can do to stay on top of. Also, being a specialists, I am not sure people go on line to find the type of services I provide vs. references vs. connecting with me life at a conference. Again, I am really struggling here, but plan on doing something more proactive soon. Oh yes, solid post.

    • Jim – you bring up a most important point … know where your tribe goes to get the type of information that is applicable to your business. FB is not necessarily the best place for all things.


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