When your competitors have more fans than you, the temptation is to rush in and grow fans, whether by spending untargeted ad dollars, mass posting to your wall, holding contests, or launching a big marketing campaign of sorts.
But without the right measurement of quality in place, it’s easy to acquire a number of “junk” fans. And it’s nearly impossible to rid yourself of junk fans once acquired, not to mention the damage that you can do to your brand. If you’re a premium auto manufacturer are you acquiring people who would actually buy your vehicles or just kids that dream of them? Do you want to intentionally attract these folks or do you want to have a brand-worthy experience for your actual customers? There is no right answer.
Here’s a set of 8 diagnostic questions to determine if your brand might be in danger:
- Is your feedback rate less than 1%? If you’re admin on the page, look at each post to see the feedback rate, which is the ratio of comments plus likes to impressions. If you have fewer than 10,000 fans, then the feedback rate might be abnormally high. But if you’re a household name and your feedback rate is less than 1%, then either your posts are off-topic, they are at the wrong time of day, or you’re posting to the wrong fans. Here Lane Bryant at only 300,000 fans gets more interaction than JC Penney with 1.8 million fans.
- Are you asking questions at least 30% of the time? Questions encourage comments, and comments boost your EdgeRank (Facebook’s corollary to Google PageRank). If you aren’t engaging fans, then you don’t get newsfeed coverage and aren’t going to show up for your fans. Contrary to popular belief, just because you post something, your fans are not likely to see it unless it has a high interaction rate.
- Are you getting less than 30% newsfeed coverage? Take the average number of impressions each of your posts generates and divide by your fan count. We like to see 50% coverage for most brands, although entertainment and professional sporting teams can be over 70%, and software companies might be only 20%.
- Have you run a contest to give away cash, iPods, or something not directly related to your product? Guess what, these folks were here for the chance to win the prize, not because they love your brand. Further, these off-target fans drag down your overall audience engagement when you do post something that real fans would care about.
- Have you bought fans? Never hire a third party to buy fans unless you have direct control over the ad creative, targeting, and other aspects. A subject for another post is on what are all the ways that you can get low quality fans via messaging that hurts your brand.
- Is your ad agency rotating creative weekly and running at least 50 ad variations at any one time? Ads burn out quickly on Facebook, so if you leave that same ad up day after day, you annoy people. This is not Google, where people search on something only once in a while.
- Do you know where your fans came from? They could come from the page’s wall, various websites with like buttons, ads, the news feed, or other places. Each of these sources will drive different types of users of varying quality. Do you know who your best users are– perhaps even by name on a fan-by-fan basis?
- Do you have social analytics that tells you what happened on Facebook? Most analytics cover traffic that came from Facebook to your website or Facebook traffic that went to your custom tab (which is almost the same thing). The vast majority of traffic occurs on the homepage of users, called the news feed– so if your analytics solution is not using the Graph API; you are flying in the dark.
Dennis Yu is Chief Executive Officer of BlitzLocal, a Webtrends partner that builds social media dashboards to measure brand engagement and ROI, specializing in the intersection of Facebook and local advertising. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog, or good old-fashioned email at email@example.com. BlitzLocal is a leader in social and local advertising and analytics, creating mass micro-targeted campaigns. Mr. Yu is an internationally sought-after speaker and author on all things Facebook, and has been featured in National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, CBS Evening News, and other venues.