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No quick wins

2010 August 19
by roostonline

At the ‘Facebook for business’ event at Tempero a few weeks back, a packed room of brand owners, planners and other digital masterminds listened intently to Christian Hernandez, the International Head of Business Development for Facebook and Josh from iPlatform talk about how businesses should actually be using the platform, and the tools and insights that are available to help brands ensure that they remain relevant and are adding value.

Facebook believes we are at the beginning of a revolution for how brands talk with users, and having provided a social identity for everyone on the web, brands and customers alike, it’s really up to brand owners to be smart about how they embrace this.

We see brands every day rolling out new ‘creative’ fan pages with painstakingly detailed applications (which never work in chrome) and multiple tabs for easy navigation. These brands, I presume, are not aware that 85% of content is consumed on a user’s news feed, and is rarely actively followed through to the fan page itself.

On top of that, only 5% of a brand’s followers will actually see the content that is posted to a fan page at all. As these posts appear on their ‘recent news feeds’, each post required ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘shares’ across a network of engaged people for it appear more frequently and deliver more impressions.

Hence the science behind the content submission itself: posting early in the morning or late at night will get better frequency within a newsfeed. You’re competing for that 5%, of users who will see your update, at the time you post it, before it’s pushed into the deep dark depths of the ‘recent news’ feed, amongst their friends’ 200 status updates about what they’re planning to do for lunch or after work.

But what about Top News?

Granted, some of your fans will see your content in the standard homepage Facebook view. But not many….

As Josh from iPlatform explained:

“Facebook pick out newsfeed stories to go in Top News based on EdgeRank, their own algorithm to detect how interesting a piece of content is for the user. Primarily, this is based on the relationship between the user and the content producer. That means that your top fans, the ones who check out your page regularly, and always like and comment on your updates, will always get your updates straight into Top News. If it doesn’t detect a high enough direct relationship, Facebook then looks at the engagement that the particular piece of content receives. The more likes and comments, the higher the EdgeRank – and the more likely it will go into your fans’ Top News feed (especially if those comments and likes are from your fan’s friends).”

It comes as no surprise however, to find brands and the agencies working with them, still looking for that golden egg, a quick win solution to gain overnight traction and ‘engagement’.  They see Facebook as a pond to be fished and are convinced that a big enough net will magically work overnight.

What needs to be understood is that there is no real correlation between fan numbers and engagement levels.  Just look at your Facebook ‘your pages’ list to see what I mean. Do you actually ‘engage’ with these brands? Have you even seen any of their posts on your newsfeed in the last 6 months? Have you forgotten why you ever ‘liked’ them in the first place?

The team at iPlatform have created a new, simple metric to really allow people to understand how well they are engaging with their fans. During the event we were introduced to IPM: Interactions per thousand fans. This metric is tied into their new tool ‘Conversocial’.

When an update is posted it takes a snapshot of the total number of fans you had at the time the update goes out. It then looks at how many total interactions the update receives (both comments and likes) relative to your fan size (per thousand fans). This gives brands a very clear, simple number that can be used to learn what type of content your fans really engage with, and track your success over time.

There’s a simple free version of the tool at http://profiler.conversocial.com/. Check it out to see how your fan page content is actually performing.

Real and valuable engagement comes through social gestures and conversations between the fans and the brand. Fan page owners need to take a detailed look at their insights and listen really carefully to their active fans to understand what content is generating likes, comments and shares and then up the ante.  It’s not a quick process, it could take months, but the outcome will be so much more valuable to the brand in the long term. Plus you will have a real metric with which to benchmark your ‘social’ activity going forward.

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