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Facebook Community Management: It's A Science Not An Art


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Download our latest eBook completely free for valuable insights on why you should start viewing your social media campaigns & management as a science, not an art. Changing your mindset on this can lead to fantastic results through the disciplines of analysis and optimisation, and this book will help you achieve this across your organisation.

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Facebook Community Management: It's A Science Not An Art

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  2. 2. Legal Notice: © Datify 2013 . All rights reserved This book is not intended for use as a source of specific business advice. Any advice, recommendation, information, assistance or services given by the author within this ebook is general information, and your individual situation needs to be taken into account before acting on this advice. The information contained with the ebook is given in good faith and is believed to be accurate, appropriate and reliable at the time it is given, but is provided without any warranty of accuracy, appropriateness or reliability. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss suffered from the reader’s use of the advice, recommendation, information, assistance or service, to the extent available by law. 2
  3. 3. FACEBOOK COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT: IT’S A SCIENCE, NOT AN ART D o you run a Facebook page for your business? If so, this short guide will help you realise the potential of your page by following a set process to make community management much more scientific. I’ve personally been involved in running Facebook pages for a number of years, from small local business pages right up to those of multi-national companies with millions of fans. No matter what size your business or Facebook page is, this process will work for you if implemented correctly. Not every page is run for the same reason; for some it’s all about brand awareness, for others it’s customer service, however all should fundamentally believe in the core concept of return on investment. If your budget for Facebook isn’t either generating a profit, or paying for itself by generating cost savings, then it’s time to make a change. How, you ask, can often light-natured content posted on a social media platform be classed as a science? The answer is data, and lots of it. Facebook’s platform is absolutely bursting at the seams with rich, user based data allowing you to stay one step ahead of your competitors by becoming immersed in it and the insight that can be drawn from the data. The whole concept relies on a belief in the following statement: Content/community management on Facebook is a science, not an art 3
  4. 4. 1 STEP ONE: FIND YOUR COSTS & SAVINGS Step one is probably the simplest of them all - whether you already run a Facebook page for your business or are just about to start, the first step is to figure out your costs. Not your advertising budget, or how much you’re paying an agency, but your true, full costs. This includes you and your teams time, any impact on the brand if there’s a social disaster, project management, advertising costs, and the cost of any tools you may want to use. My tip here would be not to underestimate. Doing Facebook properly requires commitment. I’d personally recommend using an agency for your advertising and at least some of your community management due to the expertise required. Even then, your in-house costs shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of customer service work, project management and educating any agencies on the brand and business. On the flip side, you should also calculate savings during step one. The more engaged and larger your fan base becomes, the lower your traditional customer service costs may be for example. All of this will naturally depend on your business - however it’s worth factoring in these calculations at this early stage. Most tools that you would want to use are relatively cost-effective. For in-house use we’d recommend the following tools: DOING FACEBOOK PROPERLY REQUIRES COMMITMENT. I’D PERSONALLY RECOMMEND USING AN AGENCY FOR YOUR ADVERTISING AND AT LEAST SOME OF YOUR COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT.” 4
  5. 5. Measurement And Reporting • Social Bakers is a great tool to measure your page & competitors (starting from $50 per month) • Scoreboard Social (starting from $14 a month) offers competitive scoreboards • Unmetric offers competitive analysis and alerts Content Posting & Scheduling • Sprout Social for posting (starting from $39 per month) • Hootsuite is an enterprise content scheduling & community management system (starting from £7.19 a month) • PostPlanner (from $19 a month) Reverse personas can really help here - don’t think at this stage about who your business is talking to in this arena (that comes in just a sec), but think about who your business would be if it were a person. Take a page like Paddy Power for instance. They have a very defined positioning as a funny friend who is in to sport & gambling. Their persona appeals to your cheekier side and is very tonguein-cheek, even when getting down to the serious business of betting odds. Take this post for instance. There’s not many brands with 1m fans who would post this, however due to Paddy Power’s understanding of who they are trying to be and who they are talking to, they know that content like this is appropriate and will work for their audience. Don’t let step one put you off. It’s correct and right that you fully figure out any costs and savings at this stage, to ensure that you can fully justify your Facebook commitment further down the line and so that you have a clear target to quantify ROI. 2 STEP TWO: (RE)DEFINE YOUR POSITIONING Again, whether you’re new to the Facebook arena or already established, step two shouldn’t be taken lightly. Now may be a great time to (re)define your brand positioning on Facebook. 5
  6. 6. A good example of page that is not clear of their vision at the moment is Indesit (makers of washing machines and dishwashers). At the moment they speak to their audience as a football fan and as a mum - something which doesn’t quite sit together and doesn’t seem to be resonating with the audience - take these two posts for example: The key at this stage is to be creative whilst being true to your brand. Don’t decide to make your business something it isn’t for Facebook - stay true to who you are as much as possible. 3 STEP THREE: UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE Step three is where things start to get really interesting, and where you can start developing a real edge over your competitors. Again, this applies whether you are an existing Facebook page or a brand new one. They are just a couple of days apart, but worlds apart in terms of what the brand is trying to be - as a result Indesit actually have very poor engagement rates on their page compared to their competitors. Using Facebook’s Power Editor, Facebook insights, and other available tools, you can begin to profile your audience to find out who they are (if they exist already on your page), or who you want the audience to be if you are just starting out. THE KEY AT THIS STAGE IS TO BE CREATIVE WHILST BEING TRUE TO YOUR BRAND. DON’T DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS SOMETHING IT ISN’T FOR FACEBOOK - STAY TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.” 6
  7. 7. Facebook Insights The first port of call for existing Facebook pages is your Facebook insights panel [above] Facebook have recently (June 2013) released a new version of Insights which gives you even more data than ever. If you navigate to the “People” tab at the top you start to get a really interesting overview of some key stats to help your understanding of your current audience. 7
  8. 8. The first screen you are presented with on the “People” tab shows the current age & gender split of your audience as a percentage as compared to all of Facebook. This is a really useful way of showing your audience visually and seeing where you over index versus the average. As you can see in the example above, this page is much more female focussed than Facebook overall, and particularly over indexes in the female 18-24 group, and in the female 35-54 age bands. This page is particularly weak in the male 2534 category in terms of pure numbers. This gives an initial view as to who your audience are in terms of age & gender and locations. The next question you need to ask yourself is whether this is the audience you want, or whether this is just the audience you have happened to attract. The page shown in the graph for example is positioned to appeal to males also, but as their conversions have proved much higher amongst females they have continued their focus on female fan acquisition and content. Underneath the age and gender graph there Next, click on the “People Reached” tab. This, as the name suggests, shows you is also a handy table showing the size of your audience by geography (city & country), and language. This again helps guide you, particularly if you are a multi-national business. the percentage of your audience (by age & gender) who you have reached with your content. This time the comparison is versus your overall fan base as shown below. THE NEXT QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF IS WHETHER THIS IS THE AUDIENCE YOU WANT, OR WHETHER THIS IS JUST THE AUDIENCE YOU HAVE HAPPENED TO ATTRACT” 8
  9. 9. As you can see, in this example the page is over indexing in it’s reach amongst 1317 year olds, but overall the reach figures are broadly in line with the audience make up. This is a fairly natural looking profile pages that have undertaken more ‘spammy’ content methods in the past may see much less natural looking graphs in terms of their reach at this stage. The third view, “People Engaged” is even more interesting. This shows the percentage of your engagement versus the percentage of your audience by age & gender, as shown below: As you can see for this page, the engagement is over indexing for females, with 74% of the people engaged being females, as compared to 65% of the audience being female. This is being seen across all age groups with the exception of the 18-24 band. In fact 18-24 year olds are the least engaged as a percentage of their the competition for their attention, or due to the content not quite fitting their needs. audience split for this brand, perhaps due to audience is predominantly female (in This page really starts to show some key facts for understanding your audience, which gives you a strong steer when developing your strategy. The above page for example would now know that their 9
  10. 10. terms of number of audience members and engagement) and can clearly see where their audience is lacking. This gives you a top level overview of who they are, but to start getting deeper, more data is needed. The second phase of understanding your audience is where businesses that are new to Facebook should also begin their quest for understanding, as the above Insights information will not be available to you at this stage without an audience already in existence. Power Editor A little considered calculation is the ‘Estimated Reach’ section of Facebook’s ad system. This metric can start to really guide you by giving top level numbers as to the potential audience you can reach. I’ll explain how this all works in a second, but first now is the time to introduce yourselves to Facebook’s Power Editor tool. This tool is somewhat of an ugly-duckling, but it’s usage for bulk advert editing (and therefore bulk data extraction) is a lifesaver. This tool can be found at https://www. The tool itself is a true advert bulk editor, it only updates to the system by the download & upload buttons in the top right hand side of the screen for instance, allowing you to create and play with campaigns (and estimated reach numbers) without spending any money or affecting any campaigns that are currently live. 10 The key to analysing data from Power Editor is to create multiple adverts (using the bulk creation tools) and then taking the estimated reach numbers from each. Initially, think of the questions you may want to answer, such as: • How many people are interested in football in the UK? • Where are my competitors audience located? • What is the gender split on my competitors page? • How does the Facebook audience age look across my industry? Questions such as this, and many more, can be answered in this way by taking a methodological approach. Think of this in
  11. 11. the same way you’d A/B test a traditional advertising campaign - creating variations that give you individual results. Let’s take a couple of these examples and break it down. The first is quite simple, to find out how many people are interested in football in the UK on Facebook, simply create a new campaign and advert, set the location targeting to UK and in the broad categories section choose soccer/European football. This will give you a result much like this, showing that there are 10.2m people interested in football in the UK. Alternatively you may choose to not trust Facebook’s broad categories (or your question may fall outside of their scope). In this case, define your audience by all of it’s component pages and add them in the precise interests box. It’s worth noting at this stage that the estimated reach numbers have been subject to some intense rounding from Facebook recently. Until May 2013 the numbers were to the nearest 20 users, whereas now they are rounded to much higher (proportionate) numbers. This means a little richness has been lost from the data, however for observing trends and picking up big data in aggregate this tool is still very useful. field and change the country or city field and make a note of the estimated reach for each variation. This can be time consuming if there’s a lot of variables to check, but can give a lot of insight for your strategy. Bringing It All Together Once you have the results from your own page Insights, and industry or competitor stats based on the data you have decided to mine from Power Editor it’s time to pull everything together. A useful technique is to create personas based on the data you’ve pulled and think of your audience in this defined way. Let’s say you’re a travel brand, and the data you’ve pulled out indicates that your audience is older & more female than the average Facebook audience (in terms of size & engagement), that the audience of your competitors is split between the UK & Spain primarily, and that your potential audience are highly interested in business pages as well as travel related topics. This may lead you to creating a couple of personas such as the below: To take the second example question of “Where are my competitors audience located?”, simple create an advert with your competitors page in the precise interest 11
  12. 12. • Persona 1: Wealthy, retired couple in the UK looking for regular luxury breaks • Persona 2: Expats living in Spain, looking to keep in touch with family and travel home for key holidays • Persona 3: 45+ year old business woman looking for stress-free travel • Persona 4: Working couple with teenagers looking for family breaks competitors content (rather than their audience) to find out what is working for them in terms of content types, posting times, content themes and tone of voice to ensure that your Facebook content offering is competitive. Our Datify data is really useful at easing the pain of this step as we can analyse any pages content quickly and efficiently, however there is a manual, but labour-intensive way of pulling this data out yourself. Creating your personas based on this data allows you to focus your thoughts when planning your content later on. We’ll re-visit your personas later on in the process so keep them towards the front of your mind. 4 STEP FOUR: EYE UP THE COMPETITION I personally find this stage the most fun of them all, but that’s because I’m data focussed by nature. Others may not find the competitor data quite as enthralling, but the results that can be gained from this step should not be underestimated. In step four we’re going to delve into CREATING YOUR PERSONAS BASED ON THIS DATA ALLOWS YOU TO FOCUS YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN PLANNING YOUR CONTENT LATER ON” 12
  13. 13. In essence you need to extract every post from your competitors page (which can be a very manual job) and capture key data such as: performing against your competitors. This may lead to you having a number of graphs like this to study: • • • • Time of post Date Day of the week Post engagement (comments, likes & shares) • Type of post (photo, link, status, video) • Content themes There are tools that can help you get part of the way towards this goal, such as Social Bakers, however you will still need to do a bit of manual work to collate all of the data into the optimum format. Once you have all of this data to hand, do the same for your page so that you can analyse each part to come up with conclusions as to where you are over performing and under 13
  14. 14. When you have your page and your competitors pages side by side like this you can really start to see differences in strategy. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing a competitors plans based on data like this - in the above example for instance it would be sensible to switch the volume of status and video posts on the brand page similar to the competitor page based on the average post engagement rates being seen. 5 STEP FIVE: GENERATE IDEAS & DRAW UP YOUR INITIAL CONTENT STRATEGY Now that you understand your audience and can see how your competitors are doing (and what they are doing better than you) it’s time to put your strategy down on paper. All of your hard work on the above steps will pay off at this stage. With the above data in mind, it’s time to get a little creative, but with defined boundaries set by what the data says and what you want to achieve. This will help you focus your brainstorm and come up with the most relevant ideas. Once you have a strong bank of ideas, laying them out into a content calendar requires a little leg work. We recommend doing a day by day collaborative spreadsheet detailing the following aspects for each post: 14 • • • • • - Content Type - Images/Video to be used - Post Copy - URL Used (if any) - Content Theme We’d also include key events along the top of your content calendar to ensure you don’t miss any of the topical posts that can draw so much engagement. Your overall posting strategy should
  15. 15. be defined by the data found in steps two, three and four. This should include times of day you are posting, number of posts by day, number of posts by content type, the types of themes you should be talking about and other key aspects that the data brings out. This allows you to start from place led by intelligence, rather than going in blind. It also allows you to be very clear on your starting point which will make optimisation clearer as you go forward. 6 STEP SIX: MONETISE YOUR ENGAGEMENT As part of your initial content strategy it is absolutely acceptable to include some commercial posts - whether they be pushing your products, services or just about your key brand messages. A common mistake made by social media managers creating their first content strategy, or for businesses taking their first steps on Facebook is to overload their content with too many commercial posts. This can lead to a very unengaged page and needs to be avoided. As a general rule, having one in five posts as commercially led is about right when you start out, and this can be increased to one in four, or even one in three over time depending on how your audience react and how your engagement rate performs. Naturally you’re posting to Facebook to try to generate return on investment for your activity, but at first this can require a little patience so as to not alienate your early audience. When you are creating commercial posts, it is key to do them in the right way. The ideal is to still use photo based posts with short text and a link to your product or service. Try not to be too sales-y as Facebook isn’t really this kind of environment. Ensure that you use trackable campaign links in your posts to enable you to measure the effect of each post on your bottom line. You can do this by using the Google URL builder (https:// answer/1033867?hl=en) for each post NATURALLY YOU’RE POSTING TO FACEBOOK TO TRY TO GENERATE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR YOUR ACTIVITY, BUT AT FIRST THIS CAN REQUIRE A LITTLE PATIENCE SO AS TO NOT ALIENATE YOUR EARLY AUDIENCE 15
  16. 16. with different tracking variables. For instance you may name each post by date and content theme, or simply by date and time so you are able to track back the performance of each in terms of referrals and sales in Google Analytics later. Use a shortlink generator such as bit. ly for these posts - this tidies your posts by constricting the long campaign URL you will have generated to just a few characters, and is nowadays seen as a norm with no stigma around being clicked by the vast majority of users. 7 STEP SEVEN: MEASURE & ITERATE - OR PIVOT Now that you are all set up with an understanding of the data, a content strategy and calendar, and a monetisation plan for your page it’s time to start running your content. The key to good Facebook management is in measurement and optimisation, and in following all of the steps above you’re already in a far better place than most to take the next step. At this early stage I’d recommend fully delving into your data every 2-4 weeks in order for you to measure what is happening and how you are performing. In essence this will be a revision of steps three and four, to see how your audience 16 is developing and how your content is faring versus that of competitors. There is plenty of useful data to pull out of Facebook Insights to get a quick indication of performance such as post engagement, page reach, the demographics of your audience who are engaged and so on. However, more value can be gained by using more bespoke methods. Creating and studying graphs like the below can give really valuable insight as to how to optimise your posting strategy based on real life data:
  17. 17. In the above example for instance, it would be fair from looking at this data to increase the number of interaction/ games posts, and may potentially be worth reducing commercial posts in favour of brand awareness posts which may achieve the same goals but have a slightly higher engagement rate. Measure all of your key metrics such as engagement rate, interaction rate, shareability, reach and others singularly, and also versus competitors and also as comparative elements across your own content by categorising and segmenting. Constant measurement and optimisation is the key to success in running a Facebook page, allowing you to stay ahead of the changing desires & make up of your audience. performance of your page over time. This will allow you to increase your brand awareness, and return on investment by using data to plan your content intelligently. All that is required is a hunger to better your Facebook presence, a belief in optimisation, a knowledge of the key metrics and how to mine the data, and some data analysis skills to draw out the key insights that will make the difference for your page. A lot of the above is labour intensive, which is where Datify can help - we provide full data analysis, content strategies, regular reporting, as well as full content management services, covering strategy, creation and implementation. If your analysis finds that things are really not working for your audience, it may be worth pivoting - which in this case would involve returning to the start of this whole process and working your way back through to come up with a new strategy to engage your audience. SUMMARY If you follow this process, I am confident that your Facebook page will perform better than before and that you will be able to continually improve the 17