Facebook madness: are you asking the right questions?

That’s the question you’ll hear in most conferences, most pitches, most presentations. For Facebook has given people what they were looking for (marketing people that is): a digital environment they understand. One that they use personally, and everyday, one their friends use, one their colleagues use, one their boss uses, one their kid uses. But more than that, it’s also given them language they understand: like, fan, share. That’s it. A nice change from the colleagues garbage most digital experts like to serve.

And it’s also given us a metric: the number of fans. One bonuses can be indexed on, one that you can compare week to week, one that helps measure the efficiency of your work, and importantly… Compare with your competitors, and other brands.

But this all begs one question:

Are we all obsessed with the right thing?
Are Facebook fan numbers really the right thing to chase?
Am I totally mad just asking the question?
Is it Friday anyway?

Well at the risk of seeming totally mad, I’d like to say that we’re all looking at the wrong thing, or saying it differently we are committing a well known sin: putting old media metrics to new digital/social media.

Why do I say that? 

1- Numbers without engagement is  a  waste of everybody’s time

Facebook is about sharing, commenting, keeping up. And that has nothing to do with number of fans. So try being obsessed with number of ‘shares’, and number of ‘likes’. Bizarrely a metric I have seen little people track.
Am I lying? Well try this for a change: do you know what is the most shared/liked video on Facebook about your brand? DO you know what is the most shared/liked video by your ‘fans’?

If the answer is no, then you should move quickly to question 2

2- Numbers without engagement is dangerous for a brand.

Because when someone has given you attention, it’s always risky to ignore them. And a dead FB page, one that never responds to comments is the real life equivalent of standing in front of a customer that’s asking a question and looking at him while not responding.
Better still putting material that does not get shared or liked is like talking to him about something he does not care about.

And the road from there to loosing a client is very close.

So don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should not look at numbers of fans, scale is always interesting. But today fans can be bought on Facebook. Ask the people at Facebook, they’ll give you a price.

Only I firmly believe the questions need to go in that order: 

what percentage of what you posted got liked, got shared?
How many likes and shares did you get?
How soon do you respond to comments, how often?
How often do you post something?
How many fans did you get from shared and liked content? How many did you buy
How any fans do you have?
And finally and importantly: what do you plan do do with them next that’s going to excite them?

So if I had a little advice to give it would be to remember that social media is a place where engagement drives scale.

Here are a few examples worth noting from Nike to Ikea to a few pages worth spending time on if you’re looking for good examples of people who have understood that. And you’ll see they’ve got fans…



Content rich Red Bull

Interaction rich Skittles

Love and benefits rich Starbucks


And one to watch right here that only launched. It’s two days old but look at the interaction on every post.


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