A successful Facebook marketing strategy has a balance of paid, earned and own media. It’s not enough to pay for Facebook ads and ask users to “like” your content, believing that it’s building your overall social media strategy and fan engagement. Now, brands need an integrated approach that balances paid (Facebook ads), owned (announcements on Facebook) and earned (word-of-mouth, shares, likes and recommendations). Earned media is the most valuable type of Facebook content because it’s authentic word-of-mouth marketing.
Why is earned media so important?
Just how valuable is this content? Well, 78% of users trust recommendations from friends, while only 14% trust ads. However, earned media is the most difficult type of content for marketers to develop because they can’t directly generate “likes,” shares and recommendations from their fans. They have to rely on their users to organically create content and share it, comment or “like” it with their networks.
Also, the more recommendations and shares from your users, the more trust your brand will earn and the more engagement you’ll have on your Facebook page. By getting your fans to do the sharing for you, you’ll get a lot more out of the campaign that a Facebook ad. In fact, earned media campaigns have a longer life cycle because content sharing continues even after the initial campaign has ended.
So how do I get your users to share your content? For marketers, this means creating campaigns that are designed for engagement and sharing activity from your fans. Here are four easy ways to build a social media campaign to generate earned media:
1. Each user is unique
Brands are increasingly turning to branded applications (apps) on their Facebook page in order to boost organic conversations about their content. According to a recent Facebook engagement study, users are more likely to broadcast their results if the content reflects their style, interests or personality. Top users of Facebook apps are likely to share their results for quizzes, pick-your-favorites and trivia.
When putting together your next social media campaign, think about how your users will express themselves. If you’re putting together a trivia question, for example, think about how you can ask questions that allow users to express themselves or share an opinion. Also, make sure that there is a button to share the results on their Facebook page.
2. Give them incentive to share
Popular Facebook campaigns – like giveaways, coupons and sweepstakes – are likely to get users to access your app, but the entrants are less likely to share this information on their Facebook wall. Therefore, the earned media value of these campaigns is low because they generate less user engagement.
The reason that the entrants are not sharing your content because they have no perceived value to share. However, this does not mean that you should stop these campaigns entirely. A robust social media marketing campaign includes constant updates and varied content that is designed to elicit different types of user interactions.
3. Keep it simple
What are you asking of your users? Do you want them to upload their own content, enter a sweepstakes or invite their friends to join your branded app? Make sure the instructions for the activity is clear – your users have a short attention span and will quickly move on to different content if the activity is too confusing or time consuming.
4. The age of influence
Not all users are created equal. Marketers want to get users to share their content and grow their network, but they also want to make sure that they’re attracting the right people. Make sure that you are recognizing the fans that are sharing your content the most and give them an incentive to come back. Also, if you’ve asked users to enter a sweepstakes, recognize the winners on your page and give them the option to share that they’ve won with their network.
If you follow these simple tips, you’ll build seamless Facebook campaigns that generate more engagement than paid or owned media. However, keep in mind that a successful earned media campaign is just one component of your overall social strategy – paid and owned media content is just as important to build engagement.
Facebook Home hit half a million downloads this weekend. This is only a fraction of the more than a billion active Facebook users as well as Android’s billion active user base. In other words, less than 0.001% of users have downloaded the platform. The slow adoption has been attributed to the limited number of devices that Facebook supports, such as Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, HTC One X, and the HTC One X+, along with the HTC First.
This application is trying to position Facebook at the center of mobile users’ digital lives. This is a strategic move considering the amount of time people access their mobile devices. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the average mobile consumer looks at their screen at least 100 times a day.
Location and content will be a new opportunity to track behavior
If users adopt this technology, advertisers will be able to interact with consumers in new ways: geotargeting will give them opportunities to reach customers through the places they frequent and access to friends’ interests will give advertisers the option to show customized recommendations.
Many users originally joined Home because of the attractive design but found that the app’s ability to tap into all aspects of their social network overwhelming. The app may be prioritizing social features over the basic user experience, such as making calls or accessing other apps. Also, there is no ability to curate content that your friends are posting. So everyone can see your friends’ embarrassing photos on your lock screen or home screen.
Is this an app or an operating system?
What does this app mean for the consumer? The app is off to a rocky start with mostly negative reviews and some cumbersome functionality. Also, it may be facing challenges because it fits somewhere between an operating system and an app. Wired has given it the appropriate title as an “apperating system”; others have labeled it a “launcher.”
What can users expect from Facebook Home?
- Newsfeed ads that include page posts and sponsored stories
- Uninterruption in brands’ ability to show ads. Consumers can access their friends’ content and be served relevant ads through the “Cover Feed” and home screen
- Cover Feed that shows your friends’ activities
- Texts and Facebook features all in one places
- Profile features let group chats seem more personalized
- For multi-taskers, you can now chat from anywhere on your device, even if you’re surfing the web or watching a video.
For advertisers, Home is an exciting opportunity to access users by providing content that taps into their personal experiences. For users, Facebook takes over their phone, which many people find cumbersome and invasive. Are you a Facebook Home user? What do you think of the user experience?
As we’ve discussed before, many digital strategists struggle with finding a balance between engaging a core group of superfans or focusing on lower levels of engagement with a larger pool of fans. At Sparked, we believe in growing your superfans so that you have a bigger base of really passionate brand advocates.
Current social media technologies are limiting in the tools they provide for community management: less than 1% of fans engage with Facebook content and Twitter shows the same content for all of your Facebook fans. With the Customer Advisory Board, brands see fan engagement of between 10% to 20%.
But how can you grow this group of superfans? Here are some quick tips to turn your passive fans into superfans:
1. Provide some friendly competition
Want to try out new brand messaging or product view? Create a contest through the Customer Advisory Board and get feedback on from your social media brand ambassadors all in one place. The reward for giving feedback to their favorite brands is enough incentive to keep coming back to participate in more activities. A leaderboard will also drive your fans superfans to engage more with your content.
2. Stay up-to-date
This may sound obvious, but keep track of industry news and form your activities around trending topics related to your product. It’s likely that your fans are following the news as well, and have opinions about best practices and what’s going on in the industry.
3. Recognize engagement
Your superfans want to feel that they’re being recognized for all the work they’re doing for your brand. When your fans reach a new level, or unlock a badge, give them a shoutout on Twitter or Facebook that they’re doing great work for your brand. These shout outs will create awareness throughout your less active fans that there is opportunity for rewards.
4. Game mechanics of scarcity
The concept of diminishing resources is not new. Applying this concept to motivating your superfans will spur them to act faster to reach new levels and participate in more activities. For example, provide a reward for the first 10 users once they reach a certain level and make sure that you notify the rest of your community that you reward participation. This is especially relevant for eCommerce companies, since scarcity and exclusivity can really drive users to interact with your content.
5. Building a culture of innovation and creativity
Your most loyal fans want to feel like they are a part of your brand. Asking for feedback on products or to brainstorm on campaigns is a great way to get real-time feedback and drive engagement. Plus, your fans might come up with some great ideas that you can use in their next campaign. Do you have trouble coming up with trending hashtags? Ask your fans what they think the next hashtag should be.