— blending the mix


Good to see the latest stats out for the best-performing UK-based Facebook Pages.

Prior to my departure from Brazen, I used socialbakers heavily and found it an invaluable tool in understanding how our pages were performing (and who the main contributors were).

I now really like the consistency that socialbakers are starting to deliver these reports for several reasons:

  1. The league table gives marketers some benchmarks for where they *could* be if they invested properly in Facebook
  2. Knowing that marketers want to “be as big as Cadbury”, they can see exactly what time, effort and multi-channel coordination goes in to making a successful page
  3. The lust for kudos introduces proper metrics to them for measuring effective Facebook activity – and that HAS to be a good thing, right?

For over a year i’ve been integrating edgerankchecker stats into community management processes (to understand optimal content, times and themes) and socialbakers to understand who our primary fans are, often to glazed eyes both internally and at clients.

With so few companies using these metrics at the moment, it feels a little bit like you’re sticking your neck out, betting on the next big thing. Hopefully the publishing of these stats will mean that they become more and more familiar to a much wider group of people – and become the justifiably valuable metrics they actually are.

August 2012 Social Media Report: Facebook Pages in the United Kingdom – Socialbakers.

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So, no sooner have we got used to timeline for pages coming in, then Facebook introduce some changes to Timeline…but some of these are pretty handy too!

A Unified Global Local Page

One of the biggest challenges when managing a global Facebook Page is deciding how you are going to divide up content by region:

  • Post globally in English
  • Post globally in English AND local language
  • Create individual local language pages

Most international pages opt for the one pager per language option – it’s easier for local marketing teams to post to. The problem with this is that often, smaller or less sophisticated pages in “far-flung” regions end up with off-brand content, small fan numbers and even lower engagement – in effect losing the closeness that the mother brand creates.

The latest changes will effectively make it much easier to bring currently regions and their content into the same page. Fan numbers will be shared between pages (i.e. all under the parent page) and admins and users simply need to click on the “swap region” button to see content specifically aimed at them in their mother tongue. You’ll also see PTAT scores per region, helping you to maintain  local language engagement.

A cute (but important) touch too is that the Page will remember your regional preferences too – making life just that little bit easier.

Always-On Notifications

If you’re using a social media management platform like Buddymedia or Syncapse, your admins are probably getting email notifications when you receive messages and notifications, but sometimes thats not enough. The arrival of the Page Manager app (itunes store link) means you get notifications to your mobile and can post or respond to comments directly through the app rather than having to login elsewhere in response to the email notification. You also get Insights too – which even looks pretty cool!

More accurate post views

If you’re running a pretty sophisticated page management operation (as we like to think we do!) you’re already looking at Edgerank to understand how effective your content is. To help further, a new “% seen” stat will be introduced which basically tells you how many people (as a %) of your whole fan base saw this post. It’s slightly different to edegerank in that it simply counts VIEWS, but it’s helpful none the less.

Facebook have introduced this alongside an interesting stat that on average, just 16% of fans see content that pages post. They estimate that with the Promoted Posts mechanism (where you will soon be able to pay to guarantee your posts are seen) visibility rates are up to 75%. Seems like a good time to say how poor “normal” unpaid for content performs.

So, whilst this may be on its way, don’t lose sight of what your edgerank scores are telling you. We may be in for a good wait yet for Promoted Posts.

Timeline videos

When Timeline for Profiles first came out, a cool tool was also launched which made a movie out of your timeline actiivities and major timeline events. This will also soon be out for Pages too. I’d expect this to be a largely one-off activity for a lot of Pages (similar to the creation of Milestones) but still a handy creative tool!

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What are the consequences of the recent Facebook changes?

So I’ve take a few days to assess the changes – there’s always a mad rush to be the first to review a new site and it’s pretty obvious (to me anyway), that Facebook is hell bent on becoming the platform for the web. But rather than opening up from the cliche’d “walled garden”, it is inviting people “in” to it – which is why their launch choice of social apps is so important – apps with critical mass, technologically advanced or are an innovative fit with Facebook’s re-volution.

The new platform for the web – Pre-IPO growth?
In reality, it is too easy to say that Facebook is becoming the platform for the web – with close to 800m users, the draw, simply of people and friends alone is significant. But the announcements this week demonstrates a clear desire to use applications and tools (as much as the people who use them) as a major driver in its next period of growth.

Thinking back to the great 2006/7 app-rush, there was a flood of interest in Facebook as users and brands could do more in Facebook than ever before. Fast-forward 4 years and we’re in the same boat, except this time, the apps that are now integrated into Facebook are proven successful services, bringing with them millions of members.

These services naturally relied on people wanting to spend time away from Facebook (music, news etc.) but the emerging trend (not just in apps, but new services too) certainly seems to be one of creating new experiences in Facebook.

Take a look at Techcrunch Disrupt winner Shaker, creating a Habbo Hotel-style social gaming experience sat on the Facebook platform, or Color, the new in-Facebook streaming app – again works only on Facebook. With the integration of music and video into Facebook it certainly seems a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”. All of which adds a significant number of users to Facebook – and commercial value.

As an aside, I really wish that Loic Le Meur had pursued the video platform that Seesmic created and found a way of integrating this into Facebook!

Are the apps up to the job though?
At the moment, this really only applies to Spotify, but it certainly is the case that as an app, it is pretty basic. Spotify Mobile updates seem erratic, more about basic bug-fixing than new features and the desktop app updates even more rarely – something which is exactly what is happening in the social space at the moment. Spotify’s biggest advantage is also its biggest downfall. Creating playlists. It is so easy to create new playlists, it is nigh-on impossible to organise them.

Sound familiar? This is exactly the problem that Google+ and Facebook are now managing with friends and friend lists – Apple have managed it with ipod, so what is Spotify’s solution? This issue of noise is only going to get worse as more and more friends experience musical serendipity.

Spotify and indeed all entertainment services now need to consider themselves as social platforms – spotify is a social platform that plays music rather than just a music playing one with sharing functionality – and this will require a fair amount of innovation based on what exists at the moment.

This is a significant change in mindset if we are to avoid seeing services simply use Facebook as another broadcast mechanism.

Frictionless Sharing and Privacy Issues
Spotify’s integration with Facebook is now so tight that new users have to have a Facebook account to make it work. Furthermore, anything and everything you play on Spotify, wherever it may be being played, is now being fed back into Facebook. Whilst it admittedly causes some concerns about the fact that you might secretly listen to The Saturdays (erm…!!) it is a brilliant way to find stuff that you didn’t know about or that your friends are listening to.

I was initially dead against this, it took me right back to the old days of Facebook Beacon when exactly the same kind of pre-opted-in boadcasting happened but having played with it for a while longer, I totally see the benefit.

As Brian Solis suggests, this change alone is forcing us to re-evaluate what we believe privacy to be or mean. We have all traditionally been free and easy with our information, but we have all been comfortable with this because WE have been in control of what is public, even if it is to a limited number of circles or friend lists. This changes everything. Are we happy to have the people we consider friends to alter their judgement of who we are by the minutae of our listening and reading habits?

Ask yourself this question though. Has the benefit of finding new music or even old favourites you’d forgotten about been of more value to you than anything your friends might have seen that may have a tinge of embarrassment? Have you learnt more from reading a Guardian article about a sensitive topic your friend also read than suffered as a result of others seeing you have read the same article?

Whatever your view of privacy, what this frictionless sharing introduces properly into our lives is genuine serendipity. For the last 5 years, services and algorithms have been trying to find ways to only show us the things that it thinks we are interested in – some work, some fail miserably.

Trust usurps Influence
This brings me onto the issue of influence. We are all influential about all sorts of different topics – yet when it comes to our closest friends, we will happily accept advice about a topic, track, film or pair of shoes from our friends – wherever their area of expertise may lie. The same applies to music and news. Music is often discussed as the emotional glue that binds many of us from different backgrounds together and we are much more likely to try something new that our friends have discovered.

As apps and services wake up to the opportunities that tighter social integration bring, I expect the trust we have in our friends to introduce many more and much wider experiences and products than we currently see. Which brings one massive headache with it – how do we measure this influence?

Are we doing this because we can or because people want it?
In the space of just 2 weeks, Facebook has introduced Friend Lists, Subscriptions, a mini-stream, new profiles/timeline, integration with spotify and news apps. Is the everyday user of Facebook (i.e. the person who simple uses it to communicate with friends) capable of understanding the benefits of all of this innovation?

Are we likely to see an 18-year old student divide their, say 500-odd friends into specific friend lists and subscribe to different bits of content from each list? I suggest not.

Are they going to be MASSIVELY concerned about the auto-posting to their walls of content they interact with? Yes.

Are they going to be MASSIVELY concerned that sites they visit outside of Facebook are being fed back to Facebook? Yes.

Cookie issues aside (which Facebook are now addressing) and complex account management aside, “chain statuses” are aplenty with scare stories of what can be seen on your wall and what data facebook can see. “Normal” users are scared. However, all of these changes are necessary to ensure that we have a way to manage what will become a deluge of information from streaming movies to music and news.

Noise management is perhaps the most crucial aspect underpinning all of these changes. As Facebook brings the web to IT and becomes our main window to the web, without a proper way of managing this information, we will sink…and take Facebook with us

What does this mean to you?
Think social. If you are a brand or agency, Facebook is now forcing your hand. No longer can a strategy be based around the “if” of Facebook, but now more the “must”. And that is not just about Facebook Pages either. Crucially, you must now consider how your brand can be social. And being social is not, as we discovered last week, about simply using old message techniques on new platforms. It is about behaving in new ways and taking a fresh look at your product and service in entirely new ways.

However you look at it, the world has just changed. Massively.

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Some really interesting changes were announced at Facebook today which really lay down the gauntlet.

Google+ introduced a new, slick way (via circles) of managing one of Facebook’s most challenging aspect, noise. We’ve all joined with gusto, dozens, if not hundreds of Pages and have hundreds of friends, yet they are all vying for a slim bit of space on our walls for our attention.

Google+ presented a simple way of consuming news from different friends, making life easier. Users reported higher levels of engagement and interaction than they had experienced on several long-established networks and many claimed that they had achieved a level of followers in just 2 months that had taken them years to acquire. It was clean, simple and effective.

But would the general public adopt Google+? Does the general public want to, having invested so much time in Facebook, really want to leave to join one which is largely, a white wall with a few comments and familiar faces on it?

And, it looks like today will be the day we find out as Facebook integrates even MORE of our everyday web services into our Facebook experience. With issues of noise and friend management ironed out with subscriptions and friend lists, we now have major lifestyle/entertainment brands  like Spotify, Netflix, Nike +, right here in our Facebook streams – all in a better, cleaner, more structured order.

With Deals/Places expected to happen shortly, it seems that Facebook may have just managed in bringing the web to it.

Here’s some of the latest images, Facebook have supplied, and sign up here!



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You probably don’t need me to tell you that the use of any social media channel needs to be considered carefully – and by that I don’t just mean “should you, shouldn’t you”, I mean “what are you trying to get out of it”.

Anybody can (and frequently does) create a Facebook Page, gain some kind of traction through a promotion, then things stutter. Or, perhaps they’ve launched an app, enjoyed a massive spike in interest and then back to normality. But what about every day in between? Factor in weekends, evenings or even holiday periods and you have a tough time getting people engaged.

But is it right to blame the agency or community manager for failures to grow user bases and engagement? What if fans are simply interested in what they can get OUT of the Page AND THAT IS IT?

If the loosest of all reasons a brand should be on Facebook is to increase audience engagement – then the figures uncovered by conversation monitoring and insights company here in the UK, Market Sentinel are a worrying sight.

Research provided by their Skyttle Friends (Facebook Page analysis) tool shows that even the mega-celebrities are struggling to engage fans in anything like the volumes you would expect from such significant fan bases – so what chance do brands with less than 30,000 have for example. And note, that there is not ONE brand in this top 20 list.

The KEY statistic here is the tiny number of CORE fans each Page has, or rather does NOT have. It effectively tells us how many fans interact more than the Page average (which is generally once). As such, in most cases, engagement levels are so low, an individual only needs to interact with the Page a couple of times to interact more then almost 99.99% of the whole fans base.

So, if the goal of your Facebook efforts is to increase engagement and you are not looking at these figures, you are failing on a MASSIVE scale.

Don’t forget too, that with the way Edgerank works, if people don’t interact with your Page regularly, you disappear off their walls. Bad times.

nb. To calculate the core fan count, the average number of posts-per-contributing fan is calculated. This number ranges from 1.14 for Bob Marley to 2.03 for Bob Marley. Any fan whose comment count is higher than the average is a “core fan”.

So what are YOU going to do to get people coming back for more?


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So here is my first Marketing Profs blog post whch looks at the way in which marketers might evaluate on which horse they need to put their money. Facebook with its 600m users and smart targeting or established world leader Groupon. Which horse would you back and why?

Did Groupon miss out on a glorious opportunity a few months ago to become billionaires and worry about what was oming next to someone else? OK, so that’s probably a bit of a dramatic statement to make so early into the social couponing game, but with the introduction this week of Facebook Deals, it certainly has to be top of its agenda right now.

The problem is not another couponing entrant into the market (frugaloo in the United Kingdom for example does exactly what Groupon is doing with an arguably more local focus to its deals), but the fact that Groupon relies upon a clunky pass-along process to raise awareness of the deals. If you aren’t subscribed to Groupon deals, it’s only a passed-along email or incentivised posted link to Facebook or Twitter that interrupts your online experience. This is a major Groupon Achilles’ heel but a major benefit to Facebook.

That’s why the recommendation fee is so fantastic—£6 (about $9) earnings per deal (more often than not on some pretty low-value deals) in the world of affiliate marketing is pretty good money, but how else can Groupon motivate this kind of pass-along?

This is where Facebook Deals has the killer ingredient: built-in virality. Let’s look at how Deals usurps Groupon on this front:

  • Home Page link—Users can click on deals at any time during their normal Facebook user experience.
  • Deals Page—Don’t like the first deal? Other nearby location deals are right next door to them.
  • Sponsored Deals—Deals will be visible alongside targeted ads on the right hand side of the page. (I anticipate a time when deals become so popular in any given location that deals will become targeted and served based entirely upon your social graph.)
  • Personal message, wall posts and news feeds—OK, so not very different to Groupon’s process and heck, at least even Groupon gives you incentives to do this, but shared deals become wall/news feed content and as such, highly visible.
  • Onsite notifications—Whenever a friend interacts with a deal you have also liked, you get notified, too. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a travel experience with a friend
  • Facebook Pages—A deal can be displayed on the right hand side of a deal page. Looking at a cinema deal? Also be attracted to click on the accompanying restaurant deal on the right for example.
  • Email—Not the killer tool it once was given that this is Groupon’s main MO, but the email notifications of your and your friends’ interactions with deals and daily updates alongside poking notifications, messages, and wall post notifications for example puts deals at the heart of the social experience.

So, to go back to the title of this piece, it is not the particular local or hyperlocal deal agreements that Facebook have lined up that have the potential to end Groupon’s reign, but the built-in virality of interactions with the deals themselves.

What Groupon has to motivate users to do, Facebook makes happen organically—and that is where true social shopping takes place.


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Knowing how and when to manage your activity on social media channels is one of the biggest headache’s a business will face early doors.

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Ok, so it sounds a little bit dramatic, but it’s quite astonishing to think that something that didn’t exist over 5 years ago has been so powerful it is indirectly mapping the location of the human (and with it the continents in which we live too).

I said it was geekily romantic, but it’s still a great looking graph.

Original story here and here.

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Facebook have released some fascinating, if not surprising stats on the impact of the Like button, both internally and externally.

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So, Michael Arrington over at Techcrunch is on fire at the moment with some great news stories, but one in particular has caught my eye. Mike had the opportunity to speak to Mark Zuckerberg about the Facebook Phone…and ended up getting some fascinating insights into the direction of Facebook (and by default), the social web.

My feeling is that once you have deciphered some of what is written below (taken from Techcrunch), that you hold in your hands some pretty smart cards on how to play things WAY ahead of anyone else. My take? Socialise everything you do. Irrelevant of whether the site is Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or Foursquare, allowing people to exhibit what I call “The 5 Traits” (more on those later f anyone cares!) is the common factor – platforms change all the time, behaviours don’t.

Fascinating stuff:

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