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BlogWorld panel on Facebook News Feed Optimization


10 Facebook Myths Busted

As we said at the beginning, when it comes to social media the book’s still being written.

Disagree with anything here or have something to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

UPDATE: You can now see a script version of this preso here

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10 Facebook Myths Busted

  3. Soap runs over 10 Facebook pages for some of Australia’s biggest brands. In early 2009 we were one of the first agencies playing in the space, and as the platform has rapidly grown in popularity, so has our involvement. Everyone has an opinion on how brands should use Facebook and fair enough – the book is still being written. We thought it was time to throw in our two cents, in an attempt to explode a few persistent myths we’ve heard one time too many. A note on nomenclature: Once we had “fans”, then they became people that “liked us”. Now there is some suggestion we should call them “connections” (vomit). For the purpose of clarity in this presentation, we’re going to keep calling them fans.
  5. Far from being a complete digital solution, we believe Facebook is only one part of a broader digital mix. SEO and CRM may be less sexy, however don’t overlook old, hardworking mediums. As a direct response channel, an email is incredibly more effective than a wall post or fan notification. A Facebook post quickly disappears from your wall, while an email sits and waits in your inbox. Soap strongly believes that those brands and agencies currently neglecting other consumer databases in favour of a Facebook page will come to regret it.
  7. Do you have an iconic brand that has a genuine place in consumer’s hearts? Is it a cult brand or something inherently cool like fashion or entertainment? If so (and lucky you), there’s a slim chance you may attract a decent-sized Facebook page without purchasing media. We’ve fortunately achieved this in two cases ( Golden Gaytime and Bubble O’ Bill ). With very few exceptions, purchasing Facebook media is the only way to build large numbers on a page. Brands need to consider paid media before big social media manager’s salaries, as a successful and active page takes an initial investment. Nonetheless, don’t forget the low-hanging fruit. Have you provided a link to your page from your official site? Have you plugged it in your consumer newsletter. Have you sent out a custom email, inviting people to “like” the page? These are modest and (sometimes) free ways to promote your page.
  9. <ul><li>Are some brands rushing in too quickly? We think so. And many are being encouraged by an industry that seems to have popped up overnight. </li></ul><ul><li>Brands need to take an honest look at themselves and ask some questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Why would someone want to become a Fan? </li></ul><ul><li>What do I wish to get out of the page? Is the level of investment justified? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I willing to cop criticism, backlashes or setbacks on the chin? Is there any reason I should be overly sensitive or concerned? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have a media budget to attract fans (or a cross-promotion strategy)? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have resources I need to reap the benefit of a page? </li></ul><ul><li>If I am a new brand or product just being released, am I sure I will be loved – Facebook is an embarrassing way to find out otherwise! </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook offers many brands great opportunities - but it’s not one-size-fits-all. </li></ul>
  11. We won’t join the choir of cynics mocking the rise of the “social media expert”, they’re doing a fine job already. Instead, we’ll talk about what we think is the best Facebook page in Australia. In early 2009, 23 year-old Newcastle boy Nick Getley decided to set up an unofficial Bubble O’ Bill fan page. Soap had the same idea a few months later, but when we checked to see if there were any existing pages, we came across Nick’s page. He had attracted over 50,000 fans that were already being engaged with witty and entertaining posts. Nick, who had never worked in marketing or even heard of Mashable, had already created an online movement. We tracked him down and offered to make the page an official Streets property. There were a few rough edges we had to tidy up – some language, bad spelling, a few brand concerns. He gave us admin rights and together we drafted an agreement as to how the page would run. Fast forward to eight months later and Bubble O’ Bill has become Australia’s biggest Facebook pages, with over 490,000 fans (and counting). Nick continues to run the page on a daily basis, and does a fantastic job. In return, he gets the kudos of being the #1 Bill fan in the country, plus regular deliveries of free Bills. There are hundreds of brand pages on Facebook being driven by “experts”; we believe this passionate digital native is showing them how it’s done.
  13. There are those who’ll tell you Facebook is just another channel for pushing messages and building a database. We disagree. Soap believes that Facebook works best when approached as a two-way dialogue, one that can have concrete outcomes. The page for the iconic Australian tea brand Bushells has already started driving its above-the-line marketing strategy. After finding an innovative dunk mug in our daily Google Alerts in mid-2009, we decided to share it with the Bushells fans. The response was through the roof, with one unified voice: “I want one!”. We recommended in our weekly report that a Bushells dunk mug would be a great basis for a consumer promotion. Thousands of Bushells dunk mugs were commissioned and when we broke the news to our fans a few months later, we’d finally come full circle. Facebook is not just another marketing channel; it offers unique opportunities for smart, nimble brands.
  15. <ul><li>When Facebook pages arrived many of us thought we’d found the perfect home for consumer promotions and giveaways. After all, what could be more natural than asking fans to upload photos or give a creative answer for a the chance to score a cool prize? </li></ul><ul><li>But then Facebook revised the terms of service and tightened the rules. The sad result is that many of the early promotions, such as the Ikea tagging giveaway or the Honda Fit photo campaign, are no longer viable. Facebook issues harsh warnings that a page found to be violating the terms of service may be instantly deleted by the legal team. While most big pages now abide by the rules, you’ll often note a major brand breaking them and getting away with it. </li></ul><ul><li>But given the threat that you may lose your page for violating the rules, how to run a giveaway? The simple answer is to develop a Facebook application. Here are the concerns with this: </li></ul><ul><li>It provides a barrier, as many users have an understandable aversion to installing apps </li></ul><ul><li>The apps never fully integrate with the Facebook experience in a way that feels organic </li></ul><ul><li>The result is that taking part is an app-based giveaway on Facebook feels slightly like leaving Facebook anyway. This leaves many brands wondering why they shouldn’t house their giveaway elsewhere, where they have more creative control. With Facebook Connect functionality, this makes even more sense. </li></ul><ul><li>There is one reason why some brands still use the apps: they want to incentivise people to “like” their page. The risk with this approach is that you’ll attract ‘prize pigs’ - individuals totally uninterested in your brand who just see a prize and want to ‘give it a go’. The worth of having these consumers as fans is up for debate. </li></ul>
  17. Facebook isn’t Myspace and brands would be well advised to avoid a fan-based “arms race”. One of Facebook’s greatest benefits is its ability to provide insights and feedback from brand loyalists. In this respect, we’ve often learned more from small, active and loyal followings such as the Bushells page, which numbers just over 17,000 fans. And while we all talk about growing numbers, we rarely acknowledge the reality of shrinkage. Every week, your page will lose fans. Many Facebook users might become a fan of a brand, however this doesn’t mean they are keen on getting status updates from that brand. So when you post, particularly in the beginning, you can expect people to “un-fan” themselves. Soap’s official position is that brand pages are about quality and not quantity; a fan that does not wish to hear from us or engage in conversation is welcome to leave.
  19. If you have, say, 100,000 fans and you post news about your latest promotion, it’s fair to assume you’ll reach most of them isn’t it? Of course not. And Facebook themselves have been transparent about this, by introducing impression reporting. For every post you make, Facebook tells you how many “impressions” you got. An impression is defined as “the raw number of impressions shown to users. These impressions may appear in users’ News Feeds, visits to Pages or through a Fan Box widget.” It’s common for many pages to discover that, while they have 100,000 fans, their average post may only achieve 45,000 impressions. What’s more, these impressions are not unique. Nor is there any guarantee that just because the post was served up to your fan’s homepage, they even saw it (what if they didn’t scroll down?) We’ve learned from Facebook ads that unique impressions can sometimes make up less than 10% of total impressions. But for the sake of argument, let’s triple this total to 30%. That still means that if you get 45,000 total impressions, you’ve still only reached 15,000 unique fans out of 100,000. And that’s before you account for the fact that just because Facebook serves up an “impression”, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make one. Some of your fans will probably be cruising through their homepage on the way to quickly check messages, for example. Having said that, we have a number of fan pages where impression numbers routinely double or triple our total fan numbers. We’ve also learned what a huge difference the day and time make. But regardless of the methods you use to make an impression, a Facebook post is no different to a banner ad or email, in that it will only reach a small proportion of its intended audience.
  21. There are many misconceptions about how fan numbers can be increased. You will find both clients and other agencies inferring that fantastic, well-received posts and content can attract new fans to a page. This is largely inaccurate. Only your page’s fans see your status updates or posted content. Even if one of your fans comments and “likes” your page’s update, their friends will never see the post they liked, nor even the fact they liked it. Unlike emails, or even Twitter, there’s little evidence of fans “reposting” posts – people just don’t do this on Facebook. There are a number of good reason for creating content and posting regularly, which we touch on elsewhere. Growing fan numbers substantially isn’t one of them.
  23. <ul><li>Many brands are throwing a lot of money at Facebook content plays, while others seem to be shying away, perhaps wary of the cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Soap is hesitant to create costly content just for a brand page. After all, a piece of cool video content might only get a few hundred views, so spending thousands for this channel alone is probably misguided. </li></ul><ul><li>However, creating engaging and effective content for a brand needn’t cost much at all. Facebook is a great opportunity for brands to be a little more reactive, lo-fi and playful in their attempt to engage their audience. A few examples: </li></ul><ul><li>The Magnum Dilemma : Every few weeks we take a picture of a hot guy on the street holding a Streets Magnum ice cream. Then we post it to our predominantly female fan base with the question: “What would you prefer, him or the Magnum?” Hundreds of fans engage every time. </li></ul><ul><li>When we were casting hot girls for an upcoming Lynx Musicstar campaign , we needed to shoot casting videos anyway. So why not post them online and let the Lynx fans vote for the two star talents? </li></ul><ul><li>When Impulse launched its new fragrance Into Glamour, we started the weekly Glamour Showdown . Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn? Jackie O or Marilyn? Jennifer or Angelina? </li></ul><ul><li>These small editorial ideas are nothing new to those in the magazine or radio industry, however they point the way forward for brands looking to engage their fans without breaking the bank. </li></ul>
  24. As we said at the beginning, when it comes to social media the book’s still being written. Disagree with anything here or have something to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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As we said at the beginning, when it comes to social media the book’s still being written. Disagree with anything here or have something to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. UPDATE: You can now see a script version of this preso here


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