Monday, October 11

Social Broadcasting For Dummies (everyone but you)

A recent global study (here's the summary) has encouraging news for trying to monetize the value of Facebook brand pages:
  1. 92% of Fbook fans of brand pages would recommend those brands to friends
  2. Over 33% "want to buy this brand's product more"
Awesome stats, until you do the math. Let's assume your Fbook page has 100,000 fans. Yeah, yeah, I know Starbucks and Coke and Oreo have millions of fans. But take a look at your competitor's Fbook pages, slap your face a couple times, and get real.

Let's also assume the average Fbook user has 130 friends. But of those 130 friends, only 50% are truly personal connections/peers (or at least in the same target market).

Advocacy Impact:
(100,000 x 92%) x (130 x 50%) = 5,980,000 potential influencees

Which are decent Word of Mouth results, although this assumes that all 92% of your fans will proactively recommend you. When is the last time you did this on your personal Fbook wall?

This is the point where WOM measurement goes all fuzzy and leap-of-faithy. After a user joins your fan page, the odds of them "liking" or commenting on your page regularly is fairly low. Resulting in even lower chances that their Fbook friends notice the connection with you. Meaning the reach and frequency of these WOM impressions could be much smaller.

So let's dissect a more direct measurement = Purchase Intent. It's great that a third of your Fbook fans intend to buy your product. But at the average fan count (my best guess is between 30K - 300K per brand page), this isn't exactly the type of sales numbers that excite most CFOs. Since your fans are primarily already users of your product, we are really talking repeat purchases -- not new user acquisition. So the sales impact is even lower.

So what's a poor social marketer to do? Pump more money into acquiring fans, in order to increase the final output? Then you run the risk of having to justify that investment. The dreaded Fan ROI discussion. Online advertising faces enough scrutiny when we micro-measure it on hundreds of data points. Imagine defending your social media spend with hypotheses and best guesses.

How about guaranteeing that these advocates reach millions of potential consumers, based on established distribution channels? Measured by criteria and research tools already accepted industry-wide?

Recently I presented on leveraging branded social spaces to generate advocacy content, but leveraging paid media to distribute it and reach a wider audience. Resulting in a much broader impact that can actually be measured: Brand-Distributed Consumer Advocacy.

Hopefully it goes beyond cramming product reviews in banners (although that's a good start). Use standard reach/frequency to measure its exposure. Apply standard Dynamic Logic/Comscore brand effectiveness studies to really measure its impact.

In my perfect world I never have to justify the value of a fan, and the number of fans is irrelevant. Instead the focus should be on the amount of advocacy content they generate and its impact outside of Facebook's walls.

Just get ready for a whole new list of buzzwords such as CPWOM (cost per thousand advocate mentions), behaviorally-targeted sentiment, and influence intent. Online marketers never pass up a chance to complicate the simple.

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