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The dollars and sense of Facebook fans

Written by Paul Phillips, Associate Strategy Director & Social Media Lead, Edelman 

Marketers who prioritise fan acquisition in their KPIs will greatly benefit from reading on – nine times out of 10 this approach is like throwing good money after bad.

Facebook fans have often been thought of through a CRM lens. We’ve seen fans as acquired audiences we can easily engage and remarket to. Today that is no longer the case. Only two per cent of your fan base is likely to see your content. So what use is a fan base if you can’t reach them?

Consumers have caught on faster than marketers. Following a Facebook page these days is much more about showing support for a brand – not subscribing to get content.

Some have argued that a fan base is still important as it helps provide extra contextualization and credibility. For example, if you have a large Fanbase, when your content is served it might show the audience that a friend of theirs likes it – making it more likely that they’ll like it, see screenshot below.

The benefits we see from this are fairly weak at best.

Instead, we now suggest focusing on KPIs closely tied to business goals. Such as sales revenue, qualified leads, and marketing metrics such as impressions, reach, and engagement rates – which indicate the quality of the content you’re producing.

The dollars ahead

Globally people spend nearly one hour a day just on Facebook, if marketers want to get in the newsfeeds of these audiences they need to be making better use of Facebook’s algorithm to reach the right people at the right time.

To add on, the Compass Index revealed that more than half of workers in Hong Kong cited Facebook as their most visited social platform, roughly tied with WhatsApp (54% and 53%, respectively), and followed by LinkedIn (33%).

If marketers want to get in the newsfeeds of these audiences they need to make better use of Facebook’s algorithm to reach the right people at the right time.

This approach starts with data and Facebook’s social media ad platform. When used right, it makes it easier to test and develop campaigns to drive goals such as for example ecommerce sales, leads, offline sales, brand recall metrics, and many more.

It’s also important to keep in mind ‘dark social’, more than half of social media engagements aren’t public – and this number is rising quickly. Dark engagements are done by sharing links via Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, email etc. Using UTM codes (custom tags on URLs) and matching campaign traffic with your website metrics are key to getting an accurate understanding of performance.

Here in APAC, Edelman is seeing a switch from other marketing channels such as SEM and display advertising into social because we’re getting a better return-on-investment for our clients.

In Hong Kong, we’re doing an increasing amount of this work. For the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) we’re generating a return in donation revenue mapped to every dollar of Facebook media spend. We’re working on a similar model with travel search engine KAYAK, and others in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Now is the time to mature your social strategy. Facebook’s data and powerful algorithm means marketers can better tie their social investments to business outcomes. This is good news as it’s helping put social media in its rightful place, at the heart of the marketing mix.

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