Sometimes the most obvious tips are the most powerful and most overlooked. Ken Rudin, the uber data geek at Facebook, keynotes at TDWI Chicago.
84% of new Facebook fans are your existing customers
Knowing this, how does that affect you strategy to acquire more fans or nurture folks who have become fans of your page? Instead of selling the brand proposition, why not harvest your existing brand power?
Most non-fans are not fans of your page because they aren’t ever presented with the opportunity to hit “like”. Sponsored like stories, a new ad unit from Facebook, allow you to do this effectively, often at a cost per fan of under 50 cents.
What’s a fan worth?
So you have a million fans—so what? Or you’re looking to make an investment on Facebook, but want to be smart about it. You can read third party articles that say a fan is worth $3.86 or some other specific, but arbitrary figure.
The value of your fans is simply how much incremental revenue your fans generate. That’s easy to say, but hard to measure.
Ask yourself what your email program is worth. The answer is based on how well you market against that list and how big your list is.
Engage via the wall, sell via ads
EdgeRank, Facebook’s algorithm to determine whether you show up in your fans’ news feeds, looks at how engaging you are, whether people are liking and commenting on your wall, to determine whether you deserve to show up.
Don’t assume that because you post it that, all your fans will automatically see it.
We see brands with news feed coverage ratios of under 10%, while some folks (entertainment and pro sports) can be well over 90%. Calculate yours by looking at how many impressions you are getting per post and dividing by your fan base. 50% is a good target.
If you’re under, then potential reasons are non-engaging content (not asking questions), a stale user base (too many contests), posting at the wrong times, or over-posting (fatigue or too many product-related postings).
Sell via ads, not the wall.
Your Facebook lead should be a brand strategist, not a geek
Yes, there are technical components, but the heart of Facebook strategy is tying back into what your brand represents in the real world.
What is it that gets your real world fans excited? Why do they go with you versus a competitor? How do you amplify this message so that you equip your brand advocates spread the word?
Don’t hire a fresh college grad to manage your Facebook in isolation and treat your wall like a complaints board.
Take a higher level view that is an extension of the brand messaging you have in other marketing channels. That takes a senior leader to bring folks together.
Build consensus via a dashboard
What gets measured, gets managed. If all you’re looking at is your fan counts, as opposed to the quality of fans, then you will naturally go after more fans, however junky.
Put up a dashboard (we can help build one) that everyone can rally around and that will help educate co-workers in the process. A competitive dashboard is a good start—here’s an example of Dominos vs. Papa Johns.
Go local or go home
Many of the brands in the audience have retail presences. That means Facebook created Place Pages for users to check-in and leave comments.
Are you actively monitoring these pages?
Did you know that Facebook automatically creates the locations without your knowledge?
That means your fans are commenting and checking-in without you, so you better go claim these pages, set up monitoring, and loop in your customer care folks (the people who answer your phone and email).
If you’re advanced, you might train up franchisees and store managers on how to respond to complaints and questions.
Claim your Google Places while you’re at it.
You own strategy, but agencies can own execution
Agencies want to say they can do social, but spending money with Facebook to buy a lot of impressions doesn’t equal a strategy.
Nor does building cool-looking apps and contests equal strategy.
Someone else can install the plumbing for your new house, but you must be the architect that provides the design. Software can help, but cannot replace expertise, which is in short supply.
There is no silver bullet here.
Agencies and even Facebook themselves will encourage you to spend more money. Our most common complaint from clients is “but Facebook told us that…”, to which we say “are you talking to someone in sales?”
Nothing wrong with talking to a rep from Google or Facebook, just know if they have a quota to hit and make sure to consider that bias. Incidentally, we believe that advertising is a necessary tactic to kickstart a new page, that content and apps alone won’t drive traffic.
Once you have your strategy, which is how to get your existing fans to rave about you in such a way that their friends are pulled into the conversation, then and only then should you engage in Facebook marketing.
Armed with these techniques and measurable goals, you can then build ad campaigns that drive to engagement apps on your page.
But make sure that you have lined up a method to drive traffic to the app, that the app fits within your brand proposition, and that you’ve determined what success looks like before you embark.
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.