A lot of established organizations/companies/brands have a strong Facebook foundation based on just the number of fans they’ve amassed. My guess is that most organizations’ fans were waiting in the wings, so to speak, for a strong, consistent page to emerge. And once they were informed or found out it was available, they flocked. Many organizations, such as pro-athlete teams and popular brands (think Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret), lend themselves to pretty much automatically offering good content to these fans. So good content + a strong real-world fan base + good/solid brand reputation = good Facebook presence.
And as we all know, it’s hard to measure “success” when it comes to social media. I’ve blogged about this before and read tons of professional opinions and books: just because someone likes us, doesn’t mean they actually like us. Many people “like” groups, people, places, things on Facebook willy nilly, so a large “like congregation” doesn’t mean all of these folks are hearing the message.
And then to go even deeper, some say we can’t measure success of a single post based on the number of likes it has, because people also like statuses and photos willy nilly, too. The real measurement of FB success, some offer, is whether or not these fans take the time to either comment on something or share something with their FB friends, because this takes more effort than simply clicking “like.” My personal marketing practice takes into account all of these measurements.
What I do with the page I co-administrate at work is look at the admin stats we get e-mailed to us each week that gives us insights into our page’s activity. Generally, with my page, of the 4500 fans we have, around 2500 (55%) are “monthly active users,” meaning that this many MAU interact with our page in some way, which means our messages (maybe one, maybe all, probably somewhere in between) are getting across to half of our audience. Which, quite frankly, is a rate pretty comparable to traditional marketing techniques, especially traditional advertising outlets. Actually, comparable or better!
It would be very interesting to see what other organizations’ MAU is. Depending on what that number is, a great goal for anyone’s FB page would be to increase that number. And to start that process, re-examine the content that currently goes on the page to see if it’s meeting the needs of the audience.
What are the needs of the audience? Good question! One good way to determine that is to simply pose the question as a status update. Encourage fans to comment on what they like about the page, what they don’t, what info they’d like to see posted, and why they “liked” it in the first place. The same could be done for Twitter.
1) It’s conducive to fan/organization interaction if some status updates are formed in a more engaging way. This isn’t necessary for every post, and one has to be careful not to border on cheesy. Here’s an example, using an actual post from a television organization: “Talk Show Host Hits the Road: Tune in for a brand-new episode.”
I might have phrased it like this, to hopefully encourage commenting and to make folks feel more engaged with the update: “How many of you have seen Talk Show Host wandering around your hometown with his film crew? Or have you even been featured in an episode of the show? Let us know! And tune in for a brand-new episode starting this Saturday.” And then, of course, I would’ve included the link to the story.
2) It also would be good to include questions like this, without any context, without a link to a story or an upcoming show. It would be a different mix-up to the usual content. Like when we’re power walking, but we run for 30 seconds to get our heart rate up? That’s how I see it!
3) When you’re posting a link with a status update, don’t paste the link in the status update box. For aesthetic purposes, you can click “link” and paste it there, then click on “status,” and it’ll let you write the message that’ll go with your link, without including the link in the status update. It just looks neater! There’s a high-circ monthly mag I follow on Facebook who does this, and it sort of drives me nuts.
4) FB Like button: On your organization’s news releases and blog entries, it might behoove you to include a Facebook Like button on them, so folks can like them directly from the page. And what’s great is that when they like the story or blog piece, a message is posted on their personal Facebook wall that says, “So and so likes ‘whatever story'” and a link is posted to the story. So others are spreading the word for you on FB! Here’s a link to the HTML code for the Like button. It’s a simple HTML code to embed.
Spend time looking at your colleague and competition’s Facebook presence. Colleges and universities should look at their benchmark and aspirant schools. Public television and radio stations should check out their counterparts in other states and cities. Local boutiques need to see what other stores in town are doing! When it comes to social media, imitation is the best form of flattery.