Facebook: What Is It Good For? Part I of II

By James Malins, Director of Social Media at Adconion Direct. 

Facebook, of late, feels like a late-night infomercial. With a seemingly endless, “But wait, there’s more!” roll out of product features, Facebook now sells the most advanced, feature- full “Oxyclean®-infused, Pajama Jean® Showtime Rotisserie BBQ®” social media platform out there. Marketplace ads, Sponsored Stories, Premium Placements, Open-graph Action specs, Facebook Exchange, Mobile placements…

However, like any As Seen On TV® product, before we buy it, maybe we should ask ourselves more discriminatingly, “Do I need this?”

The good news for Facebook, which is the bad news for marketers, is that the answer is “maybe.”

Why the dichotomy? Facebook is rolling out features that will be useful to somebody, not everybody. Largely missing is the voice telling brands and agencies “are you that somebody,” making it easy to spend money on features that don’t help achieve an end goal. Wasting money isn’t good for brands, or Facebook, in actuality, as it leads to GM –type spend removal proclamations that don’t help anyone.

What we need to do, as unfortunately Facebook isn’t, is cut through the cluster of features and be realistic about what is possible on Facebook, how it is possible, and within the context of your own end goals.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Painfully obvious, yet frequently missing, are clearly defined goals for Facebook within a media plan. Regardless of if the attribution model exists, if you don’t know your goals, you won’t know when you achieve them. Is Facebook a branding play? CRM program? DR channel? It is all of these, and we successfully run client initiatives for each, but with different approaches, ad units, and features. Surprisingly, a large amount doesn’t require fans. Choose a clear goal and objective before thinking about execution and prescribing what features to use.

Branding, Awareness, Consideration, Intent
Facebook defaults to a branding vehicle due to its perceived soft measureable metrics.

What is the ROI of a billboard off the 405 freeway? No one can answer that, but it doesn’t dissuade people from purchasing it. Why? Billboards have a clear achievable purpose: consume its content, and few places exist to better consume content than sitting in traffic.

Facebook is one of those few places. It is a place that exists solely to consume content while killing time.

Facebook is a branding vehicle because it delivers content to a heavily engaged audience. Forget about fan acquisition if your goals sit anywhere between branding and intent. We spend money pushing “Like us” messaging to acquire a fan base rather than pushing the fan page content we spend even more money producing. Only after liking pages do people see the intent- generating content, and organically only about 8% of them are seen. The rest of your target audience only sees “Like us” messaging, which doesn’t brand anything.

Page post ads and sponsored page post ads push deeper content to your target audience (not just your fan base) at all the same price points. From the content push, you still get people liking, commenting, sharing, PTAT-ing, but you also get reach, consumption clicks, and time spent with the content from the 80% of people that click on Facebook but never like (in radio terms, the equivalent of “long time listeners, first time callers”).  They are just as engaged, and just as much your target audience, but currently, never see your deeper messaging.

Summary: How do you effectively brand yourself on Facebook with awareness, consideration and intent?  Page post ads (and premium placements) targeted to your target audience.

Stay tuned tomorrow, as we dig into to Facebook for Fans, CRM and Direct Response…