Over the past few months I (like most marketers) have been reading a lot about social media and its role in marketing plans going forward. We have put out our own reports on what people are doing online and eMarketer and Mashable (among others) put out tons of great content every day.
Through all of my reading and in conversations with clients and prospects I continue to be surprised how little many companies know about the people they are engaging with via social media. Thinking about Facebook specifically, as an admin of a Fan page you get access to limited data, but nothing particularly useful for developing and improving content and engagement strategies. So, as we launch a new research approach to understanding Facebook Fans it seems that there are three things at a minimum that brands should know about their Fans (or “Likers”) to develop a meaningful strategy and get results from their efforts:
1) What are they looking for from you on Facebook? To keep your Fans engaged you need to understand why they have become Fans and what content they are hoping to see from you. Also, how they expect content to differ (or not) from what they might get from you on your corporate website, blog,etc.
2) How well are you meeting Fans’ expectations? Facebook as an engagement or marketing channel doesn’t give you much for mass feedback. You can (and should) read what is posted to your brand's (or brands’) wall and keep an eye on the number of new and departing Fans, but how much do you really know about how you are doing? Asking a few simple questions of your Fans on a periodic basis can give you tremendous insight into where you can improve and what the people who don’t post comments on your wall might be thinking. And because you can’t really segment your audience, you need to understand if you are not giving most of the people what they want before they begin to tune you out.
3) How can you increase engagement and enhance the Fan experience? Once you know if you are hitting the mark with your current content, it is important to know what your Fans think of other potential Facebook initiatives before you invest too heavily. Are they interested in new applications? Contests? Videos? Tools that connect to your brand and products? Testing the waters before you spend valuable development resources can improve your social media ROI.
Facebook offers brands a tremendous opportunity to engage with customers and prospects, but much of it is under leveraged and under-utilized. To really capitalize on the opportunity, you need to tap into your Fans and listen to what they have to say, don’t assume you already know.
Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.