Are you focusing your Facebook investment in the right place?
The immensely smart Jay Baer directed my attention to research conducted by Jeff Widman of Brand Glue, who found that 99.5% of comments on his clients' status updates come from peoples' newsfeeds, not from the pages themselves.
Interesting, right? As Jay notes, this means that a lot of effort which is expended on customizing fan pages on Facebook is, frankly, wasted.
The first time that people come to your page is absolutely the most critical. They're not going to keep coming back for the sake of coming back. So, your job #1 as a steward of your brand's Facebook page is to draw people to your page and maximize your conversion rate of visits to "likes." Beyond that point, investment in "ongoing" features for pages may be money down the drain.
The continued rise of Facebook community managers
This shines the light firmly on community managers as the key to Facebook success for brands. As with so many other aspects of social media, it's not all about having a flashy, creative, well-designed page layout. It's not about dazzling people with creative gadgets. Success on Facebook depends on companies providing interesting, valuable content that engages people through their home base on Facebook.
Facebook itself doesn't make things easy for brands. Well, to be more specific, it doesn't make things easy for brands who provide mediocre content. You see, Facebook doesn't treat all content equally. The site uses an algorithm to prioritize content based on both recency and on engagement with that content. The key, then, with Facebook content, is to ensure that the things you're posting actually drives people to interact with it rather than passively consume it. To do the latter is to ensure that the content appears in few peoples' streams and is soon relegated to just appearing on your wall for the 0.5% of people who may interact there.
This isn't universally true, of course. Specific initiatives can draw people to engage directly on your page (contests, for example). However, that kind of interaction isn't sustainable from either side of the equation.
The rise of spacial marketing
My colleague Steve Rubel has begun to talk recently about a new dimension we need to add to our digital engagement: time. In an age of Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds, it's no longer enough to post the right content in the right place. We need to post it at the right time, too.
- The three biggest usage spikes tend to occur on weekdays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET.
- The biggest spike occurs at 3:00 p.m. ET on weekdays.
- Weekday usage is pretty steady, however Wednesday at 3:00 pm ET is consistently the busiest period.
- Fans are less active on Sunday compared to all other days of the week.
To maximize our effectiveness, we need to take data like this and optimize our timing even further to reflect the activity pattern of our own community.
Shift your budget
The bottom line is that many marketers on Facebook are paying insufficient attention to content design while paying undue attention to creative design. While look and feel does matter, instead of spending the bulk of your budget on custom design and widgets, consider splitting that budget differently, with more of a focus on:
- Converting people from visitors to fans - optimize your page; use tools like Kontagent to test and tweak your apps to get the best possible results
- Effective community management - generating genuinely useful content and interacting with people in the community over the long term, and driving towards your objectives
Do you agree? How do you approach your Facebook activity?