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Facebook Conquers the Universe … and a little bit of the wine world

This is the start of a series of posts on Wine and Facebook

The aim of the series is to show you a way to use Facebook to drive sales or one of the other social media objectives.

Facebook Conquers the Universe! and other hyperbole

I’m not going to give you the usual intro as to why you should be interested in Facebook.

It’s been done by lots of bloggers, and I’ll leave it to the overly dramatic (slightly tongue-in-cheek?) SeeWhy video to explain why.

10 Eye-popping Facts About Facebook

Source: SeeWhy

In essence
– there’s lots of consumers
– they spend lots of time on Facebook
– their recommendations mean a lot to friends and family
– and, as pointed out below, companies are struggling to find a pragmatic approach.

So I think the case for being at least interested in Facebook is obvious.

What isn’t obvious, is how to use Facebook to drive sales

One group that I am becoming a fan of is the Altimeter Group especially this Jeremiah guy.

I like the way he looks at measures of social media performance. His Altimeter report on Facebook is another good report in that vein.

It looks at some major brands to see how they, “leverage social features to activate word of mouth, the hallmark of social networks“.

The difference between social media and other media is the two way communication. The hope is that  this will encourage a fan’s social network to also become involved with your store / brand.

In other words, Jim makes a comment on your Facebook page about how much he loves Pomerol. This is posted on all his friends wall pages including Jane. She clicks the thumbs up, or “likes it”, which now appears as an update on all her friends pages. Her friend Jenny sees the like and comments on the Pomerol comment as well, which her network sees … so one interaction with your facebook page gets spread across various social networks.

Graph of Der letze Schrei - Blog

“Go Viral” has become a hackneyed phrase but it is a good analogy of what a good social media campaign looks like, as does the picture above.

Back to the research and that methodology thingy

Jeremiah outlines some ways to evaluate Facebook pages and improve them based on this Altimeter research. This research was conducted with various experts as well as analysis of top brands across different industry sectors.

I prefer these sorts of objective approaches rather than just offering a personal opinion.

“Here’s the data, here’s how I got it, here’s my interpretation of what it means, what do you think?”

I feel it’s much better than, “I have a feeling in my belly that…”

But I have two issues with using this research

1. Unfortunately for my bit of Facebook research I’m going to have to make some subjective calls. Groan. There goes a bit of the objectivity I’ve been trying to maintain.

So, in return, given the subjective nature of some of the measures I promise I’ll give you an interested, sympathetic and fair hearing if you disagree in the comments below (or your comments in future posts).

2. Despite a plethora of books on Facebook, there does not seem to be any agreed Facebook marketing conventions as of yet.

Sure there are some official facebook rules, but I really mean the industry accepted ways of using Facebook based off successful experience. With that in mind the criteria that Jeremiah proposes is not the 10 commandments – just his social media research and resulting recommended strategies.

The Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing

He calls this the Eight Success Criteria for Facebook Page Marketing. A bit of hype never hurt a title.

Here’s the principlesfacebook home page

  1. Set Community Expectations
  2. Provide Cohesive Branding
  3. Be Up To Date
  4. Live Authenticity
  5. Participate in Dialog
  6. Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
  7. Foster Advocacy
  8. Solicit A Call To Action

Let’s go through them (to see the detail please read the report).

The italics are a direct quotes. The bullet points are the key measures I’ve distilled from the report. I’ve used these to rate a selection of wine industry Facebook pages, and I’ll publish the results in later posts.

Set Community Expectations
Clearly Articulate Expectations to Reduce Confusion and Abuse.

What should fans expect from this Facebook Page – discounts, information, discussion etc. What is inappropriate behavior, or “why we will delete your comments if we need to”.

  • Purpose of Fan Page
  • Community Guidelines
  • Consistent Feedback

Provide Cohesive Branding
Create a Holistic Experience that Matches the Brand.

Keep your Facebook page familiar, don’t deter potential customer with a page that looks inconsistent with your brand.

  • Uploaded a logo, completed info page and built out profile
  • Custom tabs
  • Branded landing page

Be Up To Date
Keep Interaction High with Fresh, Timely Content.

Is this page “alive”? Or a just a passing thought that the company has since forgotten.

  • Post regularity: 1 per day vs 1 per month
  • Best if 80% is informational and 20% or less is promotional
  • Not good if they are all automated from eg a RSS blog plugins

Live Authenticity
Build Trust by Personalizing Interactions with a “Human Touch.”

Facebook purposely forces people to reveal their real names, it’s a unique part of Facebook and one that you should respect by being authentic yourself – not hide nameless behind a brand.

  • First person
  • Conversational
  • Give a name (and photo) behind the company post
  • A tab all about the company person(s) who comment on the Facebook page on behalf of the company

Participate in Dialog
Connect with Customers by Fostering Two-Way Dialog.

You want to engage with fans to build up trust and spreading of information.

  • Initiates dialog
  • Responds to most comments
  • Further discussions, answers questions
  • Comments on fans photos

Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
Be Efficient and Enable the Crowd’s Help.

Customers are already talking to each other, so help them do it on your part of Facebook and the social media world.

  • Actively encourages peer to peer discussion
  • Active Discussion board
  • Q and A
  • Active community
  • Moderator
  • Recognition – Showcases, highlights, encourages fans contributions

Foster Advocacy
Foster Word of Mouth – the Holy Grail of Marketing.

Your customers’ recommendations mean a lot to their friends and family, certainly a lot more than your own!

  • Specific request to spread the word or share, entice fans to share/interact on their own walls
  • Requests to like, vote, sound off, share photos, contests, submissions
  • Bonus for apps and custom tabs that promote this

Solicit A Call To Action
Bring it Back to Business and Provide a Succinct Next Step.

You’ve done all that hard work – now where’s the Buy Now button!?

  • Sign up to emails, Facebook only discount coupon
  • Best of all a selected catalog with Buy Now buttons that redirect to the relevant website eCommerce page
  • Best of the best, have an actual facebook eCommerce store e.g. Fluid, payvment, BigCommerce

As I go through the research in later posts this criteria will become clearer.

Any thoughts so far?

Photo courtesy of Graph of Der letze Schrei – Blog


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