Three Reasons Eat24 Needs Facebook

Stacey Furtado
Stacey Furtado Manager, Crowdly

Posted on April 4th 2014

Three Reasons Eat24 Needs Facebook

This week, Eat24 announced its plans to shut down its Facebook page in a very public "break-up" letter. As of Monday evening at 11:59 p.m., the food delivery service’s page ceased to exist, the Facebook world blinked, and their 70,000 fans found themselves consuming its competitor's posts instead. Let’s be clear, Eat24 is abandoning the very community it built rather than sticking around to engage with as many of them as possible. What it views as “taking a stand” will be another company’s opportunity to reach its customers. While Twitter and Instagram have their place in successful brand strategies, Facebook offers the most overall value since it reaches the largest number of brand customers.

Varsity vs. Junior Varsity Digital Strategy

Choosing to center a digital strategy around Instagram and Twitter instead of Facebook is the equivalent of settling for junior varsity when you’re good enough for the varsity squad. Sure, you may get more playing time, but you’re playing for a smaller crowd and with less opportunity. At 1.23 billion, Facebook has an active user base more than five times the size of Twitter’s. But the more impressive statistic is that 60% of Facebook’s users sign on to the platform every day, compared to 46% for Twitter (PEW Research). With more users and more uses, Facebook should be the star of any varsity-level digital strategy, with Twitter and Instagram playing important supporting roles for customer service and visual storytelling.

Twitter: The 140-Character Apology

Facebook has 1.23 billion active users compared to Twitter’s 232 million. Even if Twitter doubled its active user-base this year, it’d be 4x smaller than Facebook. (Pando)

For every Oscar selfie that takes Twitter by storm, there are far more tweets that reach only one person.  In fact, 59% of brand tweets are directed at a single user. This number has grown 17% in the past year, due in large part to the increase in customer service from brand Twitter accounts. While many of these may be fun engagements with complimentary customers or fans, it’s far more likely that they are saying, “Sorry.” The word “regret” was used 37.5 times more frequently on brand Twitter accounts than personal ones, with “sorry” used 8.6 times more and “apology” or “apologize” uttered 7.4 times more (BloombergBusinessweek). Not only are apologies being dished out in droves, but the tactic isn’t working. Only 30% of brand apologies actually righted a wrong. With the exception of leaders like Zappos, Nordstrom and L.L. Bean, where amazing customer service is an established (and budgeted) marketing strategy.

Organic Reach Has Always Been Hard

“Only 4.7% of customers generate 100% of online word of mouth recommendations.” (EngageSciences)

Brands spent $500 billion on advertising in 2013 because organic reach is hard to achieve, both on and off Facebook. If customers and brand fans could spread the word about new products and great experiences as expansively as ads do, then the need for advertising wouldn’t exist. The reality is only 4.7% of customers generate 100% of online word-of-mouth recommendations. With 95% of customers keeping their word of mouth shut, engagement from that small percentage is even more authentic and valuable. For brands, reach has always required deep pockets, but achieving effective word-of-mouth is far more valuable.  71% of consumers claim that reviews from family members or friends exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence. Facebook is unique in that both reach and customer engagement are available in the same place for a fee comparable or less than traditional advertising. 

Eat24 Post


When Eat24 wrote its Breakup Letter to Facebook on its company blog, the post was ironically shared only 3,500 times on Twitter but over 19,0000 times on Facebook. Rather than thank those fans for helping spread the word, Eat24 will no longer be able to reach its recently engaged brand advocates. There is certainly legitimate frustration from brands who have seen their organic reach drop after recent Facebook changes. But Eat24 had some great fans, and it is losing a ton of potential that could be gained by modifying its strategy to focus not entirely on per-post reach, but instead invest in cultivating a core base of superfans. These are the ones whose frequent engagements will increase the brand's organic reach, and who will champion and spread that brand message to their friends. Ironically, the 19,000 people who shared their goodbye message, and the millions of intrigued friends it reached that way, illustrated that point, but perhaps a few days too late.

Is your brand effectively spreading word of mouth? What are you doing to combat changes to the News Feed algorithm? Let me know on Twitter: @Staceyfurt

Stacey Furtado

Stacey Furtado

Manager, Crowdly

As the Marketing Manager at Crowdly, Stacey works with top brands to find, rank and activate the passionate advocates in their Facebook communities. She has previously worked in marketing and community management for casual dining chain Bertucci's and regional brewery Wachusett Brewing Company. She's a graduate of the University of Delaware. 

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Comments

I also wonder whether future blog posts by Eat24 will give readers the option to share it on Facebook? Seems a little hypocritical

Interesting question, Helen. We'll have to wait and see in the next few posts they put up. 

Throwing 70,000 fans (connections) out the window is a bad decision they will have to live with. They should have given it more thought, maybe over happy hour. On the other hand I know quite a few people who have spent countless months building up their Facebook business pages that are also disgruntled about the changes, only they are much wiser than to just hit the delete button. Makes me wonder if this was part of the grand scheme of things (foresight) when Facebook introduced pages. 

I disagree with you a little bit, here. Social networks are all about what you put into them, but you also have to take the audience into account. There's been a lot of analytics done lately that shows Facebook's audience is aging, while younger audiences are moving to platforms like Twitter and Instagram. If Eat24's audience is a younger crowd (which I believe they are), then this can totally be the right move for them.

I think categorizing Facebook as a "varsity" part of your social strategy only works if your fanbase is there. I'm a big believer in identifying WHERE your audience is, and not all networks are good for all businesses. 

We also don't know what metrics they're basing this on - they may have legitimately not seen much activity or engagement generated to their site from Facebook, in which case spending time on making images (or whatever else they did) specifically for Facebook - because each post should be tailored to their network - was starting to be a waste of time.

I think it's too soon to judge them for the decision they made. It's definitely something out of the norm, but I think it's something we may see more of in the future, for better or for worse.

I think it's a bad move. One they still use the FB API so obviously anyone who shares or comments can still get engagement via FB, but the reason it's bad is now a lot of copy cat pages are up. Maybe you don't want to run ads, but why the hell would you delete a brand page when you know people might look for you there? This gives competitors and trolls and spammers the chance to steal your natural organic traffic and re-direct it over. Over time they will get new customers that don't know they aren't on FB and like the fake pages. It just seems really stupid on whoever runs their social parts to not even see that as potential brand hi-jacking risk. 

As well sure the audience is aging, but are you telling me older people wont order online? We're getting older not dumber. As well as the fact that it was just easier to voice concerns there than on Twitter if you had an issue making it a great outlet for customer service which should always be an issue for all brands. They handled it great and maybe they were pissed about the ads, but it's all in the game of things did we all leave Google when it changed? Nope we figured out how to still actively pursue the audience. 

 

All in all though it's their decision and at most I would love to see what the traffic stats are on the site after just a week of being off FB...did they drop? Did they stay the same? Did they go up? That will be the factor in all of this. 

You are chastising Eat24 for leaving Facebook and yet you can be seeming only reached on Twitter but not Facebook. I think they got a lot of free publicity from this episode and every bit of it mentioned just where they could be now found. So I don't think that their fans will have trouble finding them. People who never heard of them before will now know where to find them too (not on Facebook). It is not in everyone's best interest to stay with Facebook. Brands are like the people on the Titanic; some will survive and thrive after this all settles down and some will not make it, no matter their content. Facebook's own focus is to steer brands toward paid ads and away from free posts. If ads are not the best value for a smaller brand or even in the budget, another platform is the best place to go and most "like" clickers may not even realize that you have gone due to Facebook's own method of "out of sight, out of mind".