February 15th, 2011
Focusing Your Facebook Strategy
Big Spaceship is one of the founding agencies in SoDA, the Society of Digital Agencies, a non-profit association that brings together a range of digital agencies from around the world. For the third year in a row, SoDA has published an annual Digital Marketing Outlook report, a planning resource with pieces contributed by twenty-four SoDA member agencies. It’s an honor to have two pieces published in the SoDA 2011 DMO on behalf of Big Spaceship. My first piece – “Focusing Your Facebook Strategy: 10 Tips Towards Better Status Updates” – sums up what I’ve learned leading strategy and crafting copy for brands on Facebook. The full slideshare and my contribution have been reproduced below.
Focusing Your Facebook Strategy: 10 Tips Towards Better Status Updates
by Victor Piñeiro
In 2010, brands paid nearly $3 million to secure a television spot during the Super Bowl30 seconds of exposure to 100 million random consumers. Quietly and without much fanfare, last year also saw the top brands on Facebook gather over 10 million fans each, spending drastically less on a continuous conversation with their self-selected fanbase. Rather than speaking in 30-second segments, their medium has become the status update. How do you grow and maintain a successful Facebook presence? It all comes back to Facebooks primary building block.
1. Analyze Users Facebook Behavior
Many brands consider fan pages microsites in a new location and spend the majority of their resources on meticulously designed pages while treating status updates as an afterthought. Doubt the power of status updates? Analyze your fans touchpoints with your brand using Facebook Insights. Less than 1% of most brands Facebook fans visit their page after liking it. If 99% of your audience only sees your status updates, plan accordingly.
2. Find Your Voice or Dont Get Heard
Whatever your brands presence on its own turf, its often an uninvited voice in a crowded room of friends on Facebook. Capture your audiences attention and hold it with a likeable, entertaining, and consistent brand voice fans look forward to hearing. Keep it casual, keep it conversational, and keep it fun.
3. Be Short and Sweet to Rally Your Fans
Short, memorable messages tend to get the highest interaction rates, especially when theyre funny, witty, or friendly. And because fans generally press the Like button to cheer for your post, phrasing updates in a way that will get people rooting for them is key.
4. Dont Be Schizophrenic
Develop a consistent brand voice that doesnt vary update to update. While it often takes time to develop your voice, it should always sound like a single person, not an ever-shifting committee. This also means that its best to have one person manage the account and write updates, rather than giving your entire team the go-ahead to chime in.
5. Keep the Ask Low
Fans generally scroll down their Facebook walls fairly quickly, meaning that your 10-minute video has very little chance of being watched, while a simple, memorable update will likely solicit interaction and appreciation. Links also tend to have a low CTR, unless the call to action is strong or the reward generous.
6. Use Images
Images and photos have been found to spark the highest interaction rate on Facebook by a wide margin. Cute, silly, entertaining pics that are easy to make out as a thumbnail work best. Again, interaction usually means a fan is rooting for your content, so choose pictures that elicit cheers.
7. Develop an Editorial Calendar
Your status updates should add up to more than a cacophony of announcements for each new brand initiative or program. Besides keeping your audience entertained, your content plan should help build community and provide a rich, ongoing experience for your fans.
8. Give, Give, Give
Research has shown time and again that coupons and specials are the primary reason Facebook users Like brands. However, mere couponing betrays the community-building opportunities presented by Facebook. Rather than framing coupons as a series of deals, treat your Facebook fans like an exclusive circle with members-only discounts, much like Gilt Groupe or Groupon.
Capture your audiences attention and hold it with a likeable, entertaining, and consistent brand voice fans look forward to hearing. Keep it casual, keep it conversational, and keep it fun.
9. Execute, Listen, Hone, Re-execute
Facebook is the ultimate sounding boarddont be afraid to use it. Strategize, execute, and then monitor your fans reaction. using what youve heard, hone your strategy. Your relationship with your Facebook audience has no end pointits constantly evolving.
10. Measure Interactions, Not Just Fan Count
Some of the biggest fan pages on Facebook also have extremely low interaction rates. Though the number of fans is obviously important, keep in mind that users can hide your brands posts without
it registering as attrition. Focus instead on the interaction rate with each post. Since an interaction can be as simple as merely clicking Like, it shows you how many fans are paying attention and engaging with (or rooting for) your brand.
While these tips will get you started, the best continuing strategy is to constantly monitor your Facebook presence. Every brands Facebook community has a unique dynamic, responding to different posts, incentives, and content. And while these guidelines are specific to Facebook, the same logic applies to posts on other social networks like Twitter and MySpace.