10 lessons learnt in social media

11 April 2012

Credit: Sheryl Sandberg, CEO Facebook speaking at Facebook 2012 conference

Facebook had their first conference[1] last week to educate businesses as to their new marketing opportunities. They updated their pages to the new timeline format overnight on the 29th March leaving a few companies with some bare Facebook pages the next day.  Below I’ve shared some key learning to date on social media:

  1. Not all fans are created equal
    Research from SocialFresh[2] shows that marketing to friends of your fans can deliver better ROI and are seven times CTR[3]. If you see an advert that your friends liked, you are going trust it more.

  2. Engagement is more important than number of fans
    Having a core base of fans (minimum 500-1,000) is still important to create “the network effect” but shares and fans talking about your brand are the most important metrics. Facebook pages for travel brands are showing engagement of between 0.4% and 5% so it’s important to know how your site compares.
  1. Facebook likes and shares of posts are the true drivers of reach.
    Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm determines which posts appear in the fan’s newsfeed so fans are only likely to see 8-16% of your posts. If you have 10,000 fans, at most 1,600 will see your post, so likes and shares of posts are the true drivers of reach.

  2. As the cost of Facebook ads increase, testing conversions is key
    You can pay on a CPM[4] or CPC[5] basis and limit spend to around $10USD per day and determine the potential reach of your campaigns on your criteria. Rates vary   from 50cents upwards so testing is key to improve conversion. Facebook can be slow to approve campaigns so ensure you plan 3-4 days ahead.

  3. Sometimes it can be cheaper to go for more niche audiences
    This is surprising and may be due to advertisers primarily focused on building large scale awareness on Facebook. I anticipate that over time this anomaly will disappear.

  4. Impact of the new timeline on conversion rates for Facebook ads
    It’s still too early to confirm what impact the new timeline is having on conversion rates as fan gating[6] and default welcome landing pages are no longer allowed. However you can still be set up a welcome tab which you can directly link to.
  6. It would be good to hear from readers if your conversion rates have changed pre and post the timeline rollout. Brands pinning up prominent posts to remind fans to join the page may be having more success.   Facebook will not tolerate brands putting “like” messages in their cover images.

  1. Using third party applications to make posts can impact the share button
    The use of 3rd party applications may adversely affect the visibility of the share button on their Facebook posts.  I recommend that you check yours now.

  2. Training up staff to communicate via social channels
    Companies like KLM have learnt that you cannot expect staff to use social channels to communicate with customers and business partners without some training. Just issuing a set of guidelines is not enough.  

  1. Integrate Social into your business and focus on a CRM[7] approach
    Companies have been tempted by media agencies to carry out short lived campaigns on social channels without thinking through any kind of long term customer relationship plan. Fans are left on abandoned pages after campaigns have finished – don’t make this mistake.
  1. Pinterest is becoming an effective social tool for US retailers
    Pinterest is now used to drive traffic to blogs and to retail websites and by travel brands to inspire customers about their destinations at the dream stage of the travel customer journey.

If you want to know more about social media trends then don’t miss out on the WTM Vision conference in London on 19th April with key speakers from TUI, Expedia, Easyjet and Hoseasons and Social Travel Market. 

[1]  View the Facebook conference sessions live using this link and see best practice examples

[2] Social Fresh  “The 2012 Facebook Ads report”

[3] CTR = Click through rate

[4] Cost per 1,000 page impressions

[5] Cost per click

[6] Fan gating was the practice of only allowing visitors to Facebook welcome pages and offers after they have “liked” it.

[7] Customer Relationship Management

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