Brands on Facebook Have Come a Long Way
Jen did a great job of laying out the history of social and how we’ve morphed from Social 1.0, into Social 2.0, to where we are today, which is called “Facebook Zero.” Each stage of adoption of social is characterized by different goals and KPIs, and each stage is also characterized by a different kind of content, how we’re using platforms, how we define ROI and what “reach” looks like.
Content: Content is the objective
Platform: Primary, based on much reach
ROI: Generally unexplored
Reach: Free for all
Content: Content ladders up to objectives
Platform: Expanding to secondary platforms
ROI: Highly sought but murky
Social 3.0 (a/k/a The Age of Facebook Zero)
Content: Requires more creativity, paid component
Platform: Diversity integral to success
KPI: Clearer due to paid, but tougher to score
The “Facebook Free Love Era” Bites the Dust
As you can see from the foregoing, the “free love era” of Facebook that marketers and brands, large and small, have long enjoyed is over. This isn’t news to most of us. Reach has been drastically scaled back in recent months and no matter how large or vibrant a community of fans you’ve managed to build over the years (and in some cases paid handsomely to do so), you’re lucky if your reach on any given post is greater than 1-2%. Even more important, and as we’ve also covered in recent weeks, Facebook has tweaked its algorithm so that the use of words like “Comment,” “Win,” and “Share” are patrolled and even punished – or, in Facebook’s words, “deemphasized.” If you’re doing cutesy things in an effort to get your content more traction (engagement, shares, etc.), you’ll need to rethink that. That means posts that use language like “Like this if you remember ….” and “Share this if you agree ….” could soon spell even less reach for you on Facebook. Welcome to Facebook Zero.
How to Stay Nimble Through Facebook Zero
Key takeaways from Jen’s presentation, applicable for all brands and agencies is that Facebook now needs a consistent paid media component monthly. That means that if you want exposure to Facebook’s users, you’ll need to pay to play. This was an inevitable reality and I’m really not sure why anyone would be surprised by it. Instead of gnashing our teeth about decreased reach and effectiveness, factor in money for Facebook advertising and promoted content as part of your ongoing marketing strategies. Also, as you adapt your strategies and tactics, note that conversation and advocacy should be valued over volume and impressions. In addition, it’s important for brands to invest in building a solid social ecosystem (not just relying solely on Facebook), as well as in building owned channels. One other suggestion, based on OLSON’s experience and testing, is that brands should post less frequently on Facebook, with more creative effort involved in the content creation for the platform and stronger messaging. In short, treat Facebook like a legitimate ad platform (much like you do on other “ad networks”) and actually put some thought and effort into creating messaging. Doesn’t this also make sense?
Content Do’s and Don’ts for Social 3.0 (a/k/a Facebook Zero)
Jen closed her discussion with some suggestions and do’s and don’ts for success with the new age of Facebook Zero. Here they are:
- Do post sharable content with an emphasis on quality over quantity.
- Do actively look for right time engagement opportunities in pop culture (i.e. pay attention to current events and trending headlines, capitalize on them).
- Do take an editorial approach to content creation – the concept of brands as publishers has never been more applicable than it is today.
- Do get creative with images.
- Do engage your page’s top contributors (superfans) and have a strategy for replies.
- Do pay attention your analytics and determine best times to post for your particular community for maximum engagement and involvement. For OLSON, for instance, that’s Wednesday and Thursday in the afternoons, but that might well be different for you and your brand’s fans and friends.
- Do be proactive with a budget. Set aside a promoted posts budget each month to highlight your best content.
- Don’t get bogged down with daily content calendars, be adaptable and flexible.
- Don’t force a connection. Consider whether your will participation help tell your brand story. If not, don’t push it.
- Don’t post content that’s overly sales-y (definitely nothing new here, but always worth repeating).
- Don’t let stock imagery define your brand. In fact, stock imagery is the exact opposite of what your audience is likely to respond to – keep it real.
- Don’t force engagement with like/reply to every comment. That can come off as overly sincere or overly eager
- Don’t wait until an opportunity presents itself before wondering where the funds to promote content will come from.
There you have it. An overview of how to think about social, especially as it relates to Facebook, moving forward. Jen and her fellow panelists: Rebecca Gutierrez, Target’s Social Product Marketing Manager and Cartwheel Marketing Lead, (and who previously managed Target’s planned social media communities), Erik Odland, Web Strategy Marketing Manager, Cargill, Mike O’Neil from Integrated Alliance, did a terrific job on a topic that’s often discussed these days. As always as it relates to anything in the social realm, the key to success is to be adaptable. Keep your eyes open as to what’s happening with the platforms and how they’re changing, look at your data and let that guide you, talk with your peers about what they’re seeing, and let your tactics be focused on testing, measuring, tweaking – then starting all over again.
The Integrated Marketing Summit will be headed to Cincinnati in July and to Raleigh in August. If you’re a marketer interested in great speakers and interesting people from brands like IBM, Hallmark, Adobe, Oracle, Target, P&G and more, we hope you’ll join us. I’ll share a link for more information and registration below.
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