Facebook Audience Management

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Attracting fans with flash is great, but maintaining and supporting a vibrant online community requires deep self-evaluation and a lot of hard work. How will you communicate with your audience? What kind of content do will you give them? How will you inspire conversation?

At Story Worldwide, we’ve managed Facebook accounts for some of the world’s biggest brands, and we’ve figured out a few things along the way.

We’re proud to announce that a summary of our strategic learnings is available in our very own “Best Practices for Audience Management Thru Facebook.” It’s a living, breathing collection of wisdom on the world’s most popular online social network.

We’ve designed this document to help brands build real and thriving online communities of interested, excited brand loyalists and advocates. With instructions on how to publish content that people really want and how to manage audience interaction in real time, it will take much of the guess work out of implementing a social media plan.

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Facebook Audience Management

  1. 1. Best practices forAUDIENCE ENGAGEMENTTHROUGH FACEBOOK.STORY WORLDWIDE.Version 1.0March 2011Developed by Story WorldwideStrategic Document BECAUSE BRANDS ARE STORIES.
  2. 2. The only way to reachaudiences is to create media that is entertaining, informing and engaging. 2
  3. 3. CONTENTSIntroduction to Facebook 2Express Your Brand Identity 3Build Your Facebook Page 4Create Content that Carries 5Develop a Posting Strategy 6Engage Your Audience 7Respond in Real Time 8Inspire Likes and Fans 9Promote Your Efforts 10Measure and Adjust 11Look to the Future 12 1
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION TO FACEBOOK 600 Million Active Users. JUST: WOW. But Facebook is no longer simply a growth phenomenon. It’s literally reorganizing the way humans communicate. Are you an “average user?” If so, you have 130 friends, are connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events, and create 90 pieces of “content” every month—links, photos, videos, and so on. Multiply that by 600 million active users, and the result is a truly massive web of shared thoughts, dreams, friendships and moments, building and reinforcing at the speed of light. A good portion of humanity is interconnected now, recording the history of the world in real time. Facebook is integrated into the fabric of human life now. It can be a tough nut to crack for brands—it’s hard to aggregate all that tasty data, hard to track conversation, hard to find advertising real estate. Which is no small part of why it’s so popular. But brands have to find a way to master Facebook... it is, truly, too big to ignore. Managed well, Facebook is also the gateway to hyperefficient micro-targeting, deep customer engagement, startlingly honest audience insights and other magical powers. Here’s how it’s done! 2
  5. 5. EXPRESS YOUR BRAND IDENTITYA quick look in the mirror before you go publicFor Chrysler, we developed Before crafting your Facebook presence, it’s important to settle on who you are and how you want to represent yourself. WillDodge and Ram identities that you be sober and helpful? Friendly and lighthearted? Corporateartfully combined their colors, and aloof? Will you speak with one company voice or as severallogos, and product shots. employees? What will your audiences see when they come to your page—and what will keep them coming back for more? TONE AND VOICE Facebook is a conversational medium, so your brand will need a human voice. The details should properly be decided by all your brand stakeholders, not just your social media director, but whatever you decide should be expressed in a tone guide document so it’s consistent…even a team of brand page administrators must work in concert to ensure responses are internally consistent, so audiences can build expectations, and accords with your presence in other social media channels. LOOK AND FEEL Facebook’s pages are rigidly templated, and there are few places to express yourself visually, so it’s important to make the most of them. On the Wall, where most of the action and conversation happens, you control two spaces that typically don’t change: the large logo block at the upper left, and the small square icon that accompanies each of your posts. Facebook’s new page format also puts five of your uploaded photos at the top center. You can change them frequently for freshness, in line with weekly content updates or other spotlights, or you can fix them in order (as your five most recent uploads) for a vivid visual effect. Consider affixing useful captions to these images: If they’re photos of food, consider linking to recipes; if they’re photos of products, link to full product details. 3
  6. 6. BUILD YOUR FACEBOOK PAGEThe basic elements of an ever evolving site The basic architecture of Facebook is constantly evolving in small ways, such as the new tab structure issued in March. But the basic elements don’t change too much. WALL The Wall is where virtually all conversation takes place. Your friends’ posts appear here, in chronological order, and whenever you post here it shows up on the Wall of anybody who’s "Liked" you. This design is standardized and there isn’t anything to modify, but occasionally Facebook will tweak the look and appearance (for example, adding embedded videos to video links). WELCOME A Welcome Tab is a fully customizable landing page for first-time visitors. (Returning visitors are typically brought straight to the wall.) TABS Tabs are the home for any content your fans may want to engage with—features, apps, photos, videos, recipes, articles, maps, schedules. There are also a few default tabs—the Wall is a tab, and an Info tab logs the basics of your site. But the others are fully customizable. Before the recent update to Facebook pages, “Tabs” appeared at the top of each page, and were limited in visibility and nameability. Now they appear as a navigation bar on the left, and permit longer names and longer tab titles. We recommend taking advantage of this by treating them more like a Table of Contents, giving key features their own “tab,” and writing longer, more descriptive tab titles. 4
  7. 7. CREATE CONTENT THAT CARRIESAnd give your audience reasons to congregateThe best way to kick-start and sustain conversations aroundyour brand is to create great original content. It’s unlikely yourexisting commercials or brand messaging will fill the bill—we’re talking about new content that is genuinely informative,entertaining, and on-brand. Content your audience actuallywants, that will inspire them to “Like” your page and share itwith their friends. Facebook is very flexible in this regard: Youcan produce interviews and features, Google maps, videos andphoto contests, polls and quizzes, and almost anything else youcan think of. Remember to create with an eye to brand truthsand business goals, so the right stories will spread.FACEBOOK APPSOriginal, Facebook-specific applications can be great forentertaining, engaging, and spreading your brand on Facebook.But they can require a large investment of resources, and requireusers to “allow” them to access their private information viaa warning screen, a distinct turnoff. And they’re not as visibleon Facebook as they were. So make sure any app you decide tobuild combines functionality and great viral potential to justifysuch an undertaking. Today, a simple contest calling for fans toshare a photo or video of themselves might work better as aneditorially driven campaign on your Wall than as an enclosed,privacy-protected app.LEVERAGING OUTSIDE CONTENTFinally, make sure you leverage content you’ve already createdin other channels. For example, brand-created videos uploadedto YouTube can be hosted under a Facebook tab and linked to,repeatedly, from Wall posts. When your audience shares themwith their followers, they can click and watch the video withoutleaving Facebook. And your story spreads! 5
  8. 8. DEVELOP A POSTING STRATEGYWhat kind of netizen will you be?GENERALThe Wall is where you speak to your audience. Each of your wallposts is experienced two ways: as an individual message on yourfans’ own Walls, and in the context of all your other posts andbrand conversation, when people visit you on your brand’s wall.TIMINGWhen’s the best time to post? Hard to say, especially if yourbrand is relevant in multiple time zones. But lunchtime is greatfor engagement; in America posting between noon and 1pm ESTgathers East Coast lunchers and West Coast breakfast. Considerwhen your specific brand is most relevant and attractive to users:For a wine brand, for example, evening engagement will beeasier, and you won’t want to post anything before 2pm. For afood brand, try posting dinner recipe recommendations whenyour audience is leaving work). Programs like HootSuite can helpyou easily preload posts to be deployed at preset times.FREQUENCYConsider posting three times a day as a maximum. UnlikeTwitter, posting too frequently on Facebook can have a negativeimpact on "Likes" and MAUs (Monthly Active Users)—tippingthe ratio of brand-dictated posts to user comments and userpostings makes for an unattractive Wall when first glanced atby a prospective fan, because it looks like a one-way broadcastrather than ongoing and diverse engagement. Separate multipleposts over the course of a day…consecutive posts on somebody’sWall, no matter how nice, mark you as an invasive nuisance. When a brand gets involved in the conversation in real time, an empty room becomes a party with a host. 6
  9. 9. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCECreate posts that inspire conversationGETTING THE RATIO RIGHT PROMOTIONAL POSTSYou can do business on Facebook, but if every post is an ad, Promotional plugs can move the needle on branda brand quickly turns its audience off. That’s why it’s important understanding, can lead to offline behavior like tune-ins andthat the majority of posts engage users in a way that isn’t test-drives, and can guide to the great content living in yourstrictly promotional. In general, we recommend a mix of 1/3 tabs. Remember, you’re still trying to drive conversation: YourPromotional and 2/3 Conversational posts; you can use a promotional posts should still be entertaining and engaging,higher-octane promotional mix if the brand is beloved; less if not ad-salesy. Ask a sincere question at the end to inspireit’s new or has image issues. further conversation in the comments section.CONVERSATIONAL POSTS MULTIMEDIA ENHANCEMENTThese can be polls, questions, caption contests—anything Whenever possible, attach relevant audio or video—thesethat’s lively and inspires discussion. Ask simple and succinct posts perform better in terms of both “Likes” and comments.questions, and consider framing them within a theme (e.g.: Attach content that lives within Facebook, so people don’t have“Salad Talk”). Talk about current events when relevant; call out to leave the space; upload and attach photos (vs. guiding togreat content/pages not produced by you that you think your a web-based gallery) and choose embedable YouTube videosfans would like. This “good netizenship” makes you seem less (vs. unsupported video sites). Consider using an app likecorporate and more like a person worth knowing. Selective Tweets to pipe in specific messaging from Twitter. 7
  10. 10. RESPOND IN REAL TIMEStaying involved in the conversationGENERALOnce you’ve posted, it’s important to monitor the conversationthat results, and chime in when appropriate to clarify, amplify,fix misperceptions, and so on. How fast you can respond will belimited by your social media staffing commitment, but 24 hoursis too long, and the faster you can do it the better—managingconversation as it happens will foster an appreciative, genuinelyattentive audience.BE A PERSON, NOT THE FACE OF A CORPORATIONThe goal’s to answer any and all questions and concerns withwell-informed, timely responses. Even if you can’t answerright away (e.g., you have to check with a company lawyer orsales rep), tell the commenter you’re working on it, so anyonereading the comments can see they’re being paid attention to.Show a genuine interest in a commenter’s specific issue andexpress thanks for bringing it to light.AMPLIFY THE POSITIVE; TAKE THE NEGATIVE OFFLINECurating your brand’s conversation means doing what youcan to make positive statements spread, and to stop negativethreads before they can gain traction. Example: Ask users tocreate and share content related to your brand; once uploaded,these are valuable assets, and become naturally shareable withthe larger audience. Similarly, while you can’t squelch haters,you can correct misperceptions, and try to take negative threadsoffline. Example: Invite an angry detractor to email you offlineso you can personally deal with his issue (and where nobodyelse, conveniently, will see it). 8
  11. 11. INSPIRE LIKES AND FANSGetting audiences to opt in to your brand conversationLIKING IS SHARINGFor a user, choosing to “like” a given page can be about showingallegiance (“Jane Likes Coca-Cola”) or it can be a statement ofidentity (“Lizzie Likes Justin Bieber for President”). Whateveryour motivation, when you click a “Like” button, Facebookautomatically alerts your friends, in their feeds…and if whatyou like has a video or photo attached to it, they see that too.In this sense, the “Like” button has functionally absorbed andreplaced the “share” feature.LIKES COME FROM ALL OVERThere are many kinds of “Like.” Users can “Like” content youshare on your Wall, or a comment left by someone else oncontent you’ve already posted. “Like” buttons can be foundelsewhere on the Web, outside Facebook, through embeddedwidgets. Most crucial, though, is encouraging “Likes” for youroverall Facebook presence. By “Liking” you here, a user iseffectively subscribing to all of your content. Your posts showup on his wall, and he is now a new member of your audience.LIKE TO UNLOCKThe most efficient way to generate “Likes” is to “Like-Gate” yourpage. Whenever a newcomer arrives, whether driven there viaa targeted Facebook ad or lured through shared content, theyare welcomed by a “Like this to access the content” message.Technically, they can bypass this and click straight through toyour content, but, in practice, they accept this as an easy “toll.”And presto: a new customer is born. 9
  12. 12. PROMOTE YOUR EFFORTSThree ways to attract new crowds to your contentEDITORIAL OUTREACHDon’t be afraid to reach beyond the confines of your own page. Thenew rules of Facebook let brand pages post, “Like,” and commenton other pages. Participating in relevant discussions elsewhereincreases exposure for your own page, and posting trails back toyour own Facebook content can be a powerful tool for recruitingnew fans from related or even competitive pages. (Imagine Cokeposting to Pepsis Wall: “Okay, your last ad was pretty funny. Whatdo you think of ours?” with an embedded video.)INFLUENCER PARTNERSHIPSEvery brand category has its influencers—bloggers, forumadmins, power Tweeters, and so on. Often they’ve alreadycoalesced large and relevant audiences, and reaching outto them with an offer of partnership can be an efficient wayto enhance your authority to publish and kick-start yourown audience. There are many possible ways this can work,including linking to one another’s content, or even enteringinto content production partnerships. Importantly, this isan editorial outreach, not a pay-for-play scheme—that risksinspiring influencer backlash.HYPER-TARGETED ADVERTISINGFacebook’s limited paid media space is part of its charm, butwhat it has can be powerful. Hyper-targeted ads (right-hand For Constellation Wines, we draw inpanel) let you tailor your spend to very specific keywords, audiences with a combination of smartand you pay only for clickthru. Paired with "Like-Gated" FB paid media and editorial outreach.landing page, they can achieve as much as five likes for a dollar.Facebook Stories, an evolution of this concept, lets brandssponsor organic, consumer-generated activity, so the call tovisit (and "Like?") your page feels like it comes from a friend…anapproach infinitely more engaging than the typical banner ad. 10
  13. 13. MEASURE AND ADJUSTThe metrics of efficient, effective engagementFACEBOOK’S "INSIGHTS" TAB“Likes” are only the beginning. The “Insights” button at the rightof your brand’s page links to a set of helpful metrics tracking thedemographics of your fanbase, their activity on your page, andengagement rates for particular posts. Some examples:News Feed Stream Impressions: How many views does each Wallpost generate, from fans and non-fans in news feed streams?(You can also just see page views.)Wall Post CTR: Are your Wall posts driving positive responsefrom your audience? Which engagement methods are mosteffective, and which should be modified or scrapped?Fan Interaction Rate: How many total responses ("Likes" andcomments) to your Wall posts?Individual Tab Views: Which pages are your fans engagingwith…Are they playing games? Watching videos? Viewingphotos? Looking at product info?Dislike Attrition Rate: Once someone has “Liked” you, do they“Unlike” you later on once they’ve finished with your content?BEYOND THE NUMBERSFigures like Daily Active User and Monthly Active Users arefrequently leveraged by brands, because they are usually largeand impressive numbers. But they provide little insight into themost important thing: engagement. There’s simply no metricthat can replace reading the conversations, interacting with youraudience, and watching the sentiment and mood change. For thefirst time in history you can read your consumers’ minds…andisn’t that why you got involved in social media in the first place? 11
  14. 14. LOOK TO THE FUTURE“Sustained Facebook is a dynamic relationship web that fulfills the ultimate We’ll keep you on top of these and all the other changes in the social media promise: It enables people to stay connected to works as they develop. But don’t hesitate to contact us if you success depends everyone and everything they care about through conversation have any questions, concerns, thoughts or ideas. In fact, post on content and content sharing. them to our Wall at facebook.com/storyworldwide. creation and Its footprint for individuals is unique and deeply personal, which can make it hard for brands to get traction within conversation Facebook. But only when they limit themselves to old- Hope this was helpful! curation." world broadcasting techniques. As everywhere else in social media, sustained success depends on content creation and The Story Audience Management Team conversation curation. Give people something to talk about, make sure they can share it, and get involved in the micro- community that results. Facebook is necessarily in constant flux, trying to keep up with evolving technical possibilities, emerging business opportunities, and accelerating user demands. New features in the works or in the process of being rolled out and absorbed include Facebook Messages (combining email and instant messaging), Facebook Credits (a virtual currency), and Facebook Platform (redefining Facebook as a suite of services, rather than a product with functionality). Privacy and safety concerns will continue to ebb and flow as the service responds to consumers. 12

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