Ever wondered why Facebook isn’t more useful than it ought to be? When you’ve got thousands of fans and are updating your Page regularly, you should be attracting thousands of new fans a month, surely? Heck, it ought to be a word-of-mouth marketing magnet!
Sadly for most companies, it isn’t.
I was among an eclectic gathering of developers, analysts, marketers and free-loaders who attended the Market Sentinel summer drinks party last Friday at which Mark Rogers (Founder & CEO) highlighted some very good, but little publicised reasons for this social media failing:
Facebook isn’t that viral
Facebook is inherently not as “viral” as it would have you believe. Think about your ten best friends. Now think of two or three companies/products that you like so much you might engage with them on Facebook. Now count how many of those ten friends would be interested in those same companies? The fact is, many friends don’t select each other based on having similar interests. I, for example, am the only one of my group of friends who supports Ipswich Town Football Club (it’s a sad vice, I know).
Twitter, on the other hand, encourages people to follow each other based on affinities of interest. As a result, your followers are far more likely to respond to Tweets and re-Tweets than your friends on Facebook to your news-feed updates.
Most Fans don’t see your updates
A lot of companies don’t know that Facebook tailors what each of it’s fans see to how relevant it is for them. This is based on Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm which looks for three qualities: affinity, recency and interaction, and decides whether each fan should see your update. If, for example, I rarely interact with your page, the chances are I won’t see your updates. Given that even the top 10 brands on Facebook only interact regularly with 0.04% of their Fans, just have a guess at how many people actually see their updates. A company with 50,000 fans might , in fact, only be reaching a couple of hundred people with each update.
Fans don’t come back
Given the point above, it’s obviously critical to ensure that your fans are as actively engaged with your Page as possible. Yet recent social media usage research indicates that while companies generally use Facebook to provide updates on products, and to offer customer support, fans are primarily interested in just one thing: special offers. As a result, on average, 96% of Fans never revisit your Facebook page.
Is it any wonder, then, that Facebook isn’t making all everyone’s marketing dreams come true. The key to success remains lots of offers and frequent interaction – which is both labour intensive and creatively draining. Increasingly, wealthy brands are looking for clever apps and embedded media to deliver this for them. There is even a school of thought which says that Facebook might be a great way to gather new leads, but that you need to focus on gathering data and getting them off the network ASAP. Not very social, but perhaps sound advice for some.