[Posted by Mickael Bentz, Product Marketing Manager, Neolane]
The CEO of Syncapse explained in a recent Business Insider article how Facebook locks brands in, making them customers for life. Indeed, Facebook now requires brands to pay to reach more than 7% of their fans, but 100% of fans demand attention from brands, 24/7. In turn, brands must invest even more in community management, with no real benefit unless they buy ads to reach more contacts.
The article sums up this vicious cycle nicely, saying a “company can’t reach all its fans without spending money to promote posts, and it can’t ratchet down its always-on Facebook spend because it has a large fanbase who expect it to be there when there’s a problem.”
Many Neolane customers have expressed concern about this “Facebook lock-in” and rightfully so, because it leads to a difficult equation: more and more resources needed for less and less revenue.
Here are two ways brands can leverage the best of Facebook without being dependent on it:
1 – Focus on conversion and opt-in capture
Facebook channels are Facebook property, meaning the company has complete control. Facebook can make them as expensive as they want or eliminate them altogether tomorrow.
To prevent brands from being at the mercy of Facebook, we advise them to capture their fans’ emails and/or mobile opt-in, through:
- posts pointing to Facebook page tabs dedicated to opt-in capture (contests, quizzes, etc.)
- posts pointing to landing pages dedicated to opt-in capture.
Brands can then continue to engage fans on Facebook because it’s a marvelous place to engage their communities but they are not locked in by Facebook. Rather, through proper permission, they now have the ability to sustain conversations across multiple channels.
Bonus: With social marketing solutions and in certain contexts, Facebook allows brands to capture high-value profile information (birthday, location, interests, check-ins, etc.) in addition to the email or mobile opt-in.
2 – Consider cutting-off comments on your posts
It’s extreme, we know, but you should try it.
When you analyze the comments on posts from classic brand pages, they are mainly customer service questions and—let’s be clear—low-value discussions (like responses to buzzy posts such as “Your favorite place to pass holidays is ____?”). The scale can be tremendous, because millions of people can comment and even bots too! Only a small percentage of comments are actually valuable feedback from the community.
The problem is that effectively managing these comments requires armies of community managers and social analytics tools. We advise you to calculate community management resources, agency support and software subscription costs you could allocate toward more valuable projects simple by cutting off comments.
In addition, Facebook now allows people to contact brands privately through Facebook Messages. This new channel is the way customer service inquiries should be managed on Facebook.
As an example, Nicolas Sarkozy’s electoral campaign leading agency, Emakina, cut comments on its Facebook page. Who complained? Nobody. Most people were ok to just like or share with comments. The image of the candidate stayed clear and the virality did not suffer.