Many brands already have a Facebook presence. A respectable number of them even has a substantial number of ‘likes’ (fans, followers, friends). They usually gather these likes by crafting campaigns and luring/forcing consumers to ‘like’ the brand on Facebook.
When you’re a smart marketeer, you’ll be analyzing your Facebook stats (or even more elaborate Google Analytics, Webtrends or other stats) to see how your Facebook page is performing. After some time after your campaigns, you’ll probably see that the number of visitors on your page and the engagement on your page are plummeting , even when your number of ‘likes’ (connected consumers) is growing.
How to solve this?
Many brands either wait for the next campaign boost or flee into Facebook Ads or Facebook Sponsored Stories to get consumers back. Sponsored stories are “(…) stories that are eligible to appear in your News Feed. These show up on the right column of pages on Facebook. The types of stories that can be surfaced include: page likes, page posts, page post likes, check ins, app shares, apps used and games played, and domain stories.” It seems a reasonable investment: a kind of advertorial 2.0, a relevant and non-intrusive way to direct consumers back to your Facebook page.
However, the problem of plummeting numbers of visitors won’t be solved via buying your way to consumer attention.
The root cause is in the fact that Facebook is all about gradual engagement. As long as consumers keep engaging with a brand, that brand will keep turning up in their Facebook News Feed. Why? Because the Facebook algoritm says so. In Facebook-for-dummies-speak: Facebook only serves content relevant for you. So, when you engage often with a friend, that friend’s posts will turn up in your news feed. When you stop engaging with a friend, posts will cease to turn up in your news feed. Same with brands. As long as a consumer keeps interacting with a brand, the brand’s posts will turn up in the news feed.
By implementing this ‘smart’ algoritm, Facebook created a nice little revenue stream for brands that want to keep in touch with consumers.
Brands that fail to engage with their Facebook fans get punished: their posts stop turning up in user news feeds. To solve that, they can buy ads or sponsored stories with Facebook.
Or just spend some time implementing gradual engagement mechanisms.
Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable. Let’s start engaging en make Facebook sponsored stories obsolete.
I can understand that brands love sponsored stories because it adds a personal touch to an ad that is really attention getting and would compel people to return to a page again and again. However, there are multiple ways for businesses to reach out to potential customers on Facebook. Contests and coupons and things like that which provide some benefit to visitors can help visitors come back repeatedly with the intent to purchase. There also a bunch of companies emerging that can help brands buy Facebook likes, but you have to be careful about that because http://buyfacebookfansreviews.com rates a lot of questionable companies out there that provide a really mediocre service. I think the future of Facebook advertising is still emerging and I think that a few years from now you are really going to see Facebook innovating with even more creative types of ads. I wonder if their strategy is to find a way to buy one of these daily deals type of companies and integrate that somehow into Facebook’s interface. I think that really might be killer because adding some business acumen to Facebook’s engineering talent might create a real threat to Google’s advertising empire. As it stands right now, many Facebook pages do not offer much of value to potential customers and I think Facebook needs to continue to really find a way to force brands to provide more value through deals they come up with.
I agree. As far as I know, the main future battlefield is in payments (I will write a post about that asap). Facebook already forces game developers for their platform to use Facebook payments. Imagine what would happen if they inbed social relevance into easy payments and relevant merchant data …
Why didn’t you spend a word on conversation management? I see your point in referring to gradual engagement, but isn’t your real point that companies should create a continuous conversation strategy? Not broadcasting, but designed around conversation starters to keep engagement going? Campaigns fit into a structural presence / strategy nicely IMHO
Yes, but isn’t that more a semantic discussion? Check our proactive versus reactive conversation management model at https://www.polledemaagt.com/blog/models-frameworks/proactive-versus-reactive-conversation-management/
Of course, it is important to have a continuous webcare presence. To build proactive service solutions and have a reactive marketing driven approach.
With gradual engagement, I usually zoom in to the proactive and marketing driven efforts. Because too often, companies focus on campaign efforts rather than have a more continuous stream of ‘conversation starters’ as you refer to them.
I have the feeling that especially that (campaign-thinking) is one of the beliefs we have to challenge.
Even though I agree with the fact that you should stimulate engagement, I don’t agree with the point you’re making in this post. As much as we’d love to have all our fans engaging and actively participating in our community, that simply won’t happen. That doesn’t mean that the fans who don’t interact aren’t interested though. On the contrary, a lot of fans who don’t interact could very well be interested in your product or brand. These inactives and lurkers won’t see your post anymore though, since they don’t interact with your brand on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t know that you actually ARE relevant to them because they can’t look into your brain (yet), so they decide to stop showing posts of your brand in their newsfeed. Sponsored stories will solve this problem, and stimulate engagement and interaction with these fans. So imho, Sponsored stories are not (just) to buy fans back, their main purpose is to keep in touch with inactives and lurkers.
Besides that, it seems that results overall are pretty good: http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2011/07/20/facebook%E2%80%99s-sponsored-stories-will-decrease-your-cpa-in-ads-by-32/