thinking about brands on facebook

So I heard something like “We can never get more than 10 likes on Facebook for any of our posts. Look at the Thailand side, every time a post goes up, instantly there are above 100 likes. How do they do it?

Of course this statement was given in a casually joking manner but it triggered me to think about it.

So here go my thoughts:

1. Facebook is perceived as a ‘playground’ where anybody can get there and engage in some fun (hopefully!), have ‘a conversation’. I can’t speak as an adviser for all brands but for me, personally I would only be interested in a ‘conversation’ if
– it has something for me. The key here is ‘for me’.
– it’s funny.
– it’s controversial.

I used to ‘like’ all my favourite brands and I then get tired of see all brand-centric content that doesn’t have anything ‘for me’. I become indifferent to all the promotions going on (oh why would one need to stock up many products right?), events, activities etc etc and the list goes on. I just can’t relate.

The last I checked, I have Starbucks, Bodyshop, Burger King, Estee Lauder, Groupon etc no more on my Facebook. Instead I have, in no particular order The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ad Freak, Mashable, Simply Zesty, Ads of the world, Pick the brain, SGEntrepreneurs… Obviously you can tell most of the pages listed that i subscribe to are more towards to the news stuff.

However, if i could use my preferences as a gauge of what i would like to get from brands, i would love to have something like “The Bodyshop – your best galfriend‘ (talking about healthcare, how to take care of my skin, make-ups, tutorials for smokey eyes maybe? all the girly stuff) or “Starbucks – the cup of coffee you need everyday” (showing me motivation quotes, inspirations, life contemplation or whatever that can reach the innermost corner of my mind – that i always neglect in these hectic days). Of course once in a while you can inject your promotions, announcements for product launch, events whatever whatever whatever but that should only be strategically and tactically done.

And if you think you want to use Facebook to publicize just any of your press releases, allow me to ask: Give me 5 reasons for why I should like your Facebook page just to read your press releases?

And I’m saying all this as a consumer, not an agency person. Of course, after finishing this post, i will have to go to the other side of the table and tackle this ‘consumer’ issue. #solvemyownproblem.

2. What exactly do ‘likes’ mean? If you ever saw any tragic photos of disabled kids, miserable people having hard lives, abused animals, didn’t you also notice there are 98372837198 likes for those photos? Does that mean those 98372837198 people really ‘like’ what they see? I doubt so.

Having that said, I don’t think ‘likes‘ should be taken as a definitive measurement for customers’ response. In a way, yes, if it’s combined and formulated with other factors such as comments, impressions (how many people does the post get exposed to?), expressions (sentiments shown via comments).

3. Absolute comparisons should only take place when all parameters are ‘almost’ the same. That said, I don’t think the comparison is valid when you compare the performance of posts between brand X in Singapore and brand X in Thailand, taken into consideration of different markets, different fan base, different demographics, different branding exercises etc and etc.

Not long ago, I heard something similar from a friend of mine who’s managing content for an app targeting property sector. He mentioned that during evaluation, his app failed in some areas such as downloads, visits, engagement points and all that. I asked ‘why does it fail?‘ and he replied ‘because it doesn’t meet certain benchmarks taken from average performances of all other apps‘. Thing is property is a niche market, it’s not that everyone has a need to buy a house or rent a room everyday. It’s not like Groupon where i can visit literally everyday to check out those daily attractive deals, see what i can get some good deal today. So obviously, you cannot use Groupon’s performance as an expectation to set for a property-focused app.

On a side note, some other considerations include: the nature of brand/business (B2B vs B2C), your brand image (it is something dead serious or funky fun? traditional or innovative?), engagement frequency (are you putting something informative/funny/thought-provoking/emotion-trigger? are you posting something daily or once every 2 months?) … all this would be a factor to render different results of customers’ reactions across various brands.

Often times I have heard so many statements along the line “Let’s go Facebook“, “Just put it on Facebook“, “Like us on Facebook” (without giving people a reason to do so) etc without a proper long-term plan of how you’d like to sell your thing there or integrate it with other marketing efforts.

To conclude, I guess there’s no need to freak out when you are not getting that much of love on Facebook where everyone else seems getting it (i hope people do give real love on Facebook though!). Maybe take a deep breathe, look at the situation as a whole and figure out why you are where you are, then you might be able to come across some ideas to improve it.

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