Saturday, September 18, 2010

Facebook - heaven and hell for brands

Since of the rise of the social networking more and more brands have fan pages at facebook.
Rather than ignoring consumers these pages help to be on the pulse of the consumers.
Brands have a very good view of the consumers likes and dislike of the brand. More users are moving to the fan pages in Facebook than to the companies websites or reading newsletters. Starbucks has already over 13 millions fans, Coca Cola 12 millions, Pepsi 1.2 million and so on.
Fan pages are growing but for some brands their email subscriptions and website visitors are going down. A lot of researchers do see a relationship between FB fan page growth and decrease of page views on company pages.

Despite that fan pages can brands give much more detail about their fans, the statistics which Facebook is delivering with their insight tool are not detailed enough. Even if companies can do a lot on facebook, they don't own the real estate.
And this is the biggest problem. It is like renting a house where you are allowed to pain the walls, but you can't make holes in the wall to see what is behind.

We should not forget, that for now fan pages a free, but really fast it could be that Facebook is starting to charge for them. Has a company moved most of their traffic to facebook, will be a big shock if they need to pay big money to keep the fan pages up, a company should not spend on facebook, FB should be always another channel but not the main channel of marketing.

There is no doubt that a company needs to have a Facebook page for their brands or products but it is really important to know that a the company will never own the place and therefor will be never able to get detailed statistics and in the way they want.

As a marketer we should be very thoughtful how we utilize facebook to ensure to get most of statistics as possible and to know when we want to drive traffic to Facebook and when from Facebook back to our owned websites.
Just duplicating content to Facebook or replacing newslettter with FB, would not be the best choice, because then we lose the consumer into the Facebook land and can't guide the consumer anymore, it is like a taxi driver would give his passenger the steering wheel.
But Facebook can help to see trends, consumer reactions and to start a buzz which will bring the consumer back to the place we want to have him.

A few important points to consider when having a fan page:

1. Never have a one way direction
Facebook buttons on pages are great, but don't give the user only the ability to like your fan page. Give the consumer the ability to post to his wall but with a link back to your page outside from facebook.

2. Use Facebook to read news on your site
When publishing news, post an intro to facebook with link to the full news on your domain.

3. Don't have a facebook owner in your company
Trust your employees and allow a bigger group of employees to post on your Facebook page. Having only one or 2 people dedicated to Facebook will slow you to be successful. Your consumer will not feel as a part of your brand when only one person answers post entries or is posting something to the wall.
Consumers have a higher positive loyalty when they feel that the whole brand does care what consumers are saying and writing.

4. Bad news are better than no news
Never ever try to delete negative entries on your wall, you can be sure somebody did read it before you and will recognize when the entry is deleted. This would be a big lost of trust. Better try to answer these posts.

5. Know the limits
Facebook is great but does not give (in terms analytics) enough insight. Depending what data you want to analyze - a newsletter might be better. In Facebook you don't know who did read your posts, but with a newsletter you know who opened your email and partly what part they did read. Always keep this in mind.

6. Facebook is organic and hard to control
Having a Facebook page will change your marketing life. FB is dynamic and not always predictable, consumer can write what and when they want. You have to learn how to guide and how to react.

7. Know yourself in Facebook
Have somebody in your team who does nothing else than searching and analyzing facebook.
This person should not write posts but look for anti brand fan pages or screening the wall entries and what infos your fans have public for you. This is the best way to get best statistics beyond the insights FB gives you.

- Posted using My iPad

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Spring Hill,United States

No comments:

Post a Comment