(Looking for “Is Google Rewarding People Who ‘Buy’ Friends?” Click here.)
In a recent column titled “How Brands Should Think About Facebook,” Advertising Age’s Jack Neff makes the case that Facebook is more useful as a brand loyalty tool than it is for attracting new customers. Depending on your brand’s goals and your audience’s Facebook habits, he may be right.
As he notes:
And if that’s the case, then 84% of a brand’s Facebook time is going to be spent making happy customers happier, rather than delighting total strangers.
But what Neff’s article really got us thinking about was the difference between a wink and a kiss, and why Facebook is so good at helping brands score one kind of love but not always the other.
Just Because I Like You, That Doesn’t Mean I Care
Have you ever heard of EdgeRank?
It’s the method Facebook uses to determine just how much the things you say matter to the people you say them to. (Think of it as Facebook’s version of the algorithm Google uses to figure out how high your website turns up during searches.)
Your brand’s Facebook fan page may have 1000 fans, but if those fans never engage with your page’s content beyond that initial “like,” they’ll be less and less likely to see the content you share on that page. In the world of Facebook, your EdgeRank can strengthen or weaken like a muscle. But unlike traditional exercise, the growth of that muscle isn’t really up to you; it’s up to the engagement habits of your audience.
This means the more often people click on, comment on, “like” and share your fan page’s content, the more relevant Facebook thinks your content is, and your EdgeRank goes up. And that means your fans in general — and your most active fans in particular — are more likely to see your content show up in their “Top News” feed.
Conversely, the more often you post content to your fan page that doesn’t ring up comments, “likes” and shares, the more irrelevant Facebook thinks your page is, and the less likely your fans are to see your content even if they expect to.
Winks Are Easy, But Kisses Are When It Counts
Getting someone to “like” your Facebook fan page is the easy part. It only requires them to notice you, and find you momentarily interesting enough to click a button once. It’s a wink from a passerby who may never expect to see you again.
But activity? That matters.
The fans who find your content compelling enough to form an opinion about it, who want to answer your questions and share your videos, photos, coupons, freebies, etc.? Those are the ones who want to see you on a regular basis — and they’re the ones who will see you in their news feed. Because they care, and their actions prove it.
So the real measure of a Facebook fan page’s success isn’t in the number of fans, but the number of actively engaged fans. (In fact, having too many unengaged fans can actually drive your EdgeRank down, which means all those flirtatious winks are working against you.)
Who knew Facebook — a tool that was built by a guy whose previous success was a website where college students could rate pictures of co-eds — would eventually mature into a tool that rewards long-term commitment?
Maybe social media is growing up after all…
Need a Facebook chaperone? We manage inbound marketing that matters. Contact us.