February 07, 2012

6 Newsfeed Marketing Tactics The Facebook marketing challenge has evolved from accumulating to engaging fans. The new success objective is to efficiently and effectively beat the Edgerank algorithm to get the maximum number of posts onto fans walls and trigger the multiplier effect that places brand content in the NewsFeeds of your fans’ friends. On average only 3-7% of fans see any given status updated posted to a brand page. In general, there’s only a 2 percent chance that a given post will get any kind of viral pass-along. Brand pages with a million fans or more generally see 1.1% of fans clicking or sharing content. Effectively using the Facebook platform is the new black. NewsFeed marketing is to Facebook what SEO is to Google. Becoming an effective NewsFeed marketer begins by paying close attention to the content, composition and cadence of posts and then tracking the number of likes, comments, shares and original fan posts you provoke. A consensus is emerging around the definition of engagement – the gross number of interactions (comments, likes and shares) divided by the total number of brand fans. This formula is becoming a new KPI for social media success. Start by understanding the general patterns among your fan base. Keep in mind that most fans come to the branded Facebook page just once; to like you or to sign-up. After that initial action, all the actions takes place on their Wall where fans grant attention and access to the people or the content they care about. Some of the general observations about usage patterns are emerging in research from companies selling Facebook publishing and metrics tools like Vitrue, Buddy Media, Hubspot, PageLever and EdgeRank Checker. They offer fragmentary ideas for testing rather than a comprehensive view or a proven prescription for action. Consider these six emerging clues: Photographs generate the most engagement, 54% more than text alone and 22% more than video. Photos are favorably weighted in the Edgerank algorithm. They are the high engagement vehicles for Facebook users accessing the network using mobile devices. Early Birds Rule. Posts before noon get 65% more likes, comments and re-posts than those after noon. For mobile users after 7p is prime time. Think about where your fans are and what they might be doing that will compete for attention with your posts. The rates of Facebook use at work grew 300% in 2011. Identify peak usage times for your brand to insure that you maximize the potential eyeballs reading each update. Best day of the week varies. Friday is the biggest day for re-posts and mobile comments. Saturday draws the most shares. Wednesday is the big engagement day for QSR and CPG brands. Shorter is Better. Posts with 240 characters or less with a photo prompt the most engagement. The longer the post; the smaller the engagement rate. Posts with links drive likes and re-posts at much higher rates. Brand pages with more than 1 million fans are seeing CTRs of 0.14 for links. Punctuation reduces engagement. Avoid frequent use of question marks and exclamation points. Word choice affects readership and interaction, though the vocabulary for impact varies widely by business category and user demographics. Directive language (e.g. please like this or please re-tweet) works for 20-35% of users and will drive 4X engagement. Cadence Counts. The average Facebook post has a shelf life of 3.2 hours. After 180 minutes, the likes, shares and comments die off. Yet more than 2-3 posts per day is overkill for most brands. Increasingly brands are looking at the type of posts and categorizing them to discern optimal sequences that draw the most engagement. Ideally brands will develop content sequences (e.g. link, photo, coupon, survey question) that delight fans and drive maximum interaction. Focus on Fans. Look at behavior, sensibility and the intensity of your fan relationships. The average Facebook fan is a fan of just two brand pages, joins 12 groups, hits the Like button 9 times and posts 25 comments, usually during 55 minutes of Facebook face time daily. Develop an editorial calendar and individual posts with this in mind. Zero-in on your core fans; those with highest propensity to engage with your brand. Similarly, during the 3.2-hour shelf life of each post, the more you directly respond to fan comments, the more you influence the Edgerank algorithm in your favor. You have to carefully plan your content and then stay engaged and work it as fans consume it. The implications of these six patterns is that compelling, interesting, share-worthy content...
Building Brand Relationships I have more relationships that I can handle. I do a so-so job, managingup, down and sideways at the office. I do a little better with my gorgeouswife, great kid and lovelorn dog. I struggle to manage relationships with dog-walkers,doormen, dry cleaners, tech guys, postmen, next door neighbors, visiting cousins, finance guys, college pals and professional peers. I am maxxed out. I really don’t have room for relationships with my fabric softener, myshoes, my dishwasher, my news agent, HBO, The Mets, each of the 65magazines I regularly read, my iPhone, Verizon, my toothpaste or my TV set. And even if I did, I am not sure I’d do any better relating to them. I guess I should be thrilled that hundreds of corporations have decidedto take this burden off my shoulders by investing in Facebook pages, Twitter Feeds, Wikipedia entries, e-mails, text alerts, loyalty cards and CRM programs. I am flattered that somebody out there is trying to keep up with me, keep track of me and keep selling me. The problem is I’m an odd duck. So are most people. We don’t really dowhat we say we do. We can be distracted and rerouted by deals and offers. Wechange our minds easily and frequently. We take advice from strangers at cocktail parties. We can be sidetracked by slick design. And for large categories of goods and services just don’t care. When all the hype, tech talk, bells and whistles are stripped away, CRM rests on threefundamental direct marketing principles. Birds of a Feather flock together. If you can find the demographic, psychographic lifestyle or workflow patterns that define your most valuable or most frequent customers – you can find them easily and serve them better. RFM Rules. If somebody takes an action, it’s easier to get them to doit again. The sooner; the better. And if you watch how much they spendyou’ll get a feel for how much they could be worth to you as a customer.It’s all about recency, frequency and monetary value. 80/20 is Real. 20% of your customers yield 80% of your volume. Ideallyif you can identify the 20%, you can communicate with them much morecheaply and thereby maintain volume while increasing margin. After all this, when a marketer gets it right it’s a beautiful thing. When they blow it, it’s a colossal waste of money. Allow me to site a few examples from my relationship-rich life. They are not statistically significant or projectible. But I have a hunch they reflect the state of the CRM art. Norm Thompson: Fifteen years ago I saw an ad in The Wall Street Journalthat read “I make the world’s most comfortable socks. If you doubt me, sendme your card and I’ll send you a free pair”. Being younger, poorer andmuch more gullible (I thought there was a real guy named Norm in Oregon). Idid it. So did ‘Norm’. ‘Norm’ sends me a flyer about my socks twice a year. And like a lab rat I buy 3 pairs twice each year. Do the math. For the wholesale cost of a pair of socks and thirty 50-cent mailers Norm has built me into an annuity with a present lifetime value of $570 and a future value worth at least $38/year. It’s an ROI you or I would kill for. American Airlines: I am a mile whore. But American seems to know whenand where I fly even though they’ve never asked me a ton of nosey questions.They post my new points quickly and offer me deals on the routes I fly.They upgrade me much faster than their competitors and generally make mefeel like a big shot. On most flights I get automatic upgrades oftenpresented with handshakes from smiling gate agents. I’ve repaid theirlargess with frequent use, several incremental vacation packagepurchases, light mileage redemption and positive word-of-mouth. And I'm not so worried about their bankruptcy filing. Amazon.com: The home of the original predictive filter bedevils me.I purchase an average of 40 printed books each year using that magical, demonic ‘1 click buy’ feature. I haven’t grasped the Kindle yet. But they aren’t very grateful. They never write or call. Even the stodgy old BOMC celebrates my loyalty better. Brooks Brothers: I have worn Brooks Brothers Oxford cloth buttoned-downshirts since I was eleven. I used to buy them with money from my paper route. Since they’ve gone cyber, I have benefited from some great discounts. But, I can’t tell if they’ve sorted me into a “value buyer” category or if it’s just a...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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