The Philadelphia Inquirer today posted an article titled, ”Facebook’s promoted posts: Pay to play, some say” and we’re grateful to be included. Of course, Cass has much more to say on the topic than just one line. Of course, we wanted to share it with you. Here is the complete interview:
1) Were you aware that your Facebook posts only reach an avg of 16% of your fans?
While the research from Facebook shows that on average, posts by brands reach 16% of their fans, we have seen much higher levels of engagement on the campaigns we’re conducting. While there has been a push to benchmark social media engagement across industries, this does not provide an accurate reflection of brands that are highly dedicated to growing and engaging their targeted audiences. There are two factors that make for successful engagements for brands. First, you need to know who they are and what they care about. Then, you need to create opportunities for action and interaction that are strategically aligned with your business goals. If you can do these things consistently well, you’ll see numbers much higher than average.
2) Were you surprised when you first learned [that statistic]?
Not really. There are a lot of brands out there misusing Facebook as a broadcast channel. It’s a common mistake and will lead to low levels of engagement. Social media is inherently social and forgetting that can lead to wasted effort and lost dollars.
3) What do you use Facebook for? Do you rep individual accounts on it? Can you give me an idea of how many fans your accounts have and how effective they are in your marketing/ communications efforts?
We use Facebook for our clients in a number of ways and we do help them manage and grow their communities there. Our clients have seen increased brand loyalty, new opportunities with new audiences, increased web traffic, and increased sales. That said, the number of “Likes” a brand has is decreasing in value. The real metric that people should be evaluating on all their social media properties is whether it is helping them achieve their business goals, whatever they may be.
4) Will you continue to use Facebook or migrate to other platforms? Do you feel you have a choice?
There are a wide variety of social media properties available to companies today. We use Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Foursquare, and the list goes on… Increasingly, there are hyper-targeted social platforms that are making some headway. The truth is that whether you use a social media channel should depend on your audience and how they get and share information. We really dig into that to develop a meaningful social media strategy for a client. We’re also constantly measuring and evaluating interactions, researching other options, monitoring competitors, and looking for feedback from community influencers. Social media trends and technology are moving so fast, we are constantly keeping our options open so we can best serve our clients.
5) Are you considering paid promotional posts? If so, when?
Sure. We consider all the options. We’ve done some of this work in the past and will continue to evaluate it as part of our social media marketing mix.
6) Are you Ok spending money to reach your Facebook fan? If yes, why? If no, why? (the soapbox is all yours!)
Right now, we are managing paid campaigns for a few of our clients and seeing good results from them. With Facebook, growing a targeted community can be challenging because you can’t proactively put your brand in front of someone outside of your network without an ad. Facebook provides a lot of good targeting data that businesses find helpful and can clearly measure.
If I could get on my soapbox for a minute, I would say that social media is not just Facebook. It’s also not something that 10 year olds do on their mobile phones in their parents’ basements. Businesses can’t think that way. At its core, social media is social. Which means that it is about relationships. Companies should consider social media as one way to communicate with the people with which they have or want to have relationships. It should be truly connected with every other initiative they are investing in to create better or more relationships. Doing that requires high-level thinking and strategy that goes beyond the technology that makes social media interactions possible. The most successful social media campaigns we’ve run have been highly integrated. They may have used Facebook and Twitter as tools, but they’ve also strategically incorporated events, guerilla marketing, PR, email, advertising, video, and a limitless number of other marketing tactics. This means that our clients have been able to take one idea and use it to create many different but consistent interactions. To go back to your first question, those that are seeing low engagement rates on Facebook are probably considering social media as a marketing satellite out on its own. This is a mistake on a variety of levels and has left some companies frustrated with social media. Until they understand how to leverage the interconnectedness that social media offers – between people, brands, marketing initiatives, and business goals – they’re going to continue to struggle.