Facebook is a special kind of marketing conundrum. Even as marketers struggle to find meaningful social media metrics, and amidst Facebook’s own struggles to attract advertisers and raise its stock price, marketers continue to flock to the social network. That’s because, despite the metrics mystery and stock market skepticism, one thing is absolutely certain: consumers love Facebook.
Knowing that audiences are ready and waiting on Facebook, many marketers haphazardly create pages on the network and begin posting away. But the key to achieving a true Facebook win lies in focusing on what drove you to the social network in the first place: your audience. Here are some critical user stats that brands must consider if they want to be successful on Facebook.
Unlikes by number of brand posts
We studied a random selection of 80 Facebook brand pages and uncovered an interesting trend: the number of daily Fan “Unlikes” increases with a brand’s number of posts each day. In other words, the more times a brand posts, the greater the risk of losing Fans! In fact, our research has revealed that unlikes for these brands increased by 15 percent when going from one to two posts and by another 13 percent once posting jumped to three or more times per day.
The lesson here is to post relevant, useful content and not to inundate your audience with self-serving marketing posts or benign conversation starters. Pay attention to the types of posts and topics your Fans respond positively to, and adjust your content to make every post count. Social networks offer marketers the opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation with users, so your voice should never be the only one on your Facebook wall. When Facebook users “Like” a brand, they expect some product updates, but they also expect exclusive coupons, polls, special offers and other forms of relevant yet engaging content. They expect to be treated like a brand VIP, and they should be given the respect of the brand ambassador they may grow to become.
In posting brand-centric idle chatter, many brands are reminding users that in fact, they haven’t done anything for them lately.
The lifetime of a post
Post data from the top 100 Facebook brands was examined with an eye to Fan comment activity within 24 hours of creation. The percentage of total user comments, on average, was reviewed at various intervals after the post: 30 seconds, one minute, 15 minutes, etc. After reviewing Facebook “Likes” during the first day of a brand’s post, we found that, on average, over half of a post's comments occur within its first 15 minutes of life. After 24 hours, the post’s life cycle is effectively over, with 94 percent of its total comments already made.
Does this mean brands should be posting every 15 minutes? Not unless they want to be “Unliked.” What it means is that brands need to manage their expectations. A post may have tremendous reach on Facebook, but its lifespan is short -- so don’t hang too much on a single post. And as noted above, if you have nothing engaging to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.
Mobile versus desktop usage patterns
The analysis also looked at a diverse sample of 25 Facebook brand pages to determine whether they received more Likes from mobile or desktop users throughout the week and discovered that:
The takeaway here is that desktop is dominant during the work week, when many consumers are desk-bound. Mobile Likes are surprisingly low, revealing that while mobile use of Facebook is on the rise -- 600 million mobile users currently -- the benefit of this growing usage has not yet fully extended to brands. However, Facebook recently made dramatic improvements to its mobile platform, and many of those enhancements were made specifically to increase revenue.
With that in mind, stay tuned: interactions with brands via the mobile channel are likely to increase moving forward. For now, try keeping your weekend content mobile-friendly (less click-out links, more photos, etc.) and give mobile Sponsored Stories a spin. Also remember to check your analytics data. Every brand is different, and some may inspire a larger share of mobile Fans.
As the debate continues over how to value a Facebook Fan and measure ROI, rest assured that audience cues are the North Star of successful Facebook marketing.