Over the past week or so I have been speaking with a number of digital marketers about Facebook. The key issues that come up around measurement, engagement and return on investment.
Marketers pay attention to Likes, they are generally an upward positive trend, this leads them naturally on to a strategic problem ‘we’ve got X likes on the Facebook page how do we measure it, measure the engagement, calculate the ROI?’ I’ve missed one question out there, which is that of monetisation as many people believe that social commerce or an e-commerce-enabled Facebook page is the answer.
The first question of how do we measure Facebook is the one that most concerns me. Because it implies a post-rationalisation of why an organisation in on Facebook, rather than a well thought out approach based on the understanding of:
- The role Facebook plays for the audience
- An understanding of how the brand can be useful (entertainment has its uses)
- Clear objectives in place, mapped back to business objectives, that would predetermine the kind of measurement answer in the first place
This means that money has been invested in understanding the audience to start off with:
- How do they use Facebook?
- How to they view your brand?
- How likely are they to recommend it
- What do they want from you, versus what you provide them? (How can you be useful?)
How do you measure engagement? You can look at the amount of comments submitted, but this is very much context-dependent; what’s your audience’s demographic, is it something that you want to discuss, for instance Pfizer’s Preparation H medication isn’t a social subject matter whereas Lady Gaga is. A better guide is the NetPromoter Index. This is something that can be carried out on a regular basis and tracked for trending. You can even benchmark against competitors.
How can you measure the return on investment? This falls into two areas:
- Make money
- Reduce costs
The easiest way to justify social media in terms of return on investment is by using it for customer service instead of the telephone. This is due to a number of factors:
- For many organisations you can find that questions map to a Perato analysis and so reduce the complexity through pre-scripting and process design
- You can generally deal with a call faster via the keyboard and social media
Make money is now being addressed by social commerce. It could be as simple as vanity links to product pages tracked via website analytics all the way through to a shop as Facebook application within the page.
The Like Mistake
Like in the European English parlance is a loaded word. It is at best lukewarm and at worst has subtle negative connotations. If you left for your office in the morning and your American partner says that they like your tie; its their personal seal of approval, if I then compliment you on your neck-wear; it is at best small talk – your tie is inoffensive, or it could be that I don’t want you to lose face and I think its repulsive. I might like baked beans on toast for my tea – but I won’t be wedded to the idea.
So the lexicon also shapes the concept of the like button in an European English perspective that localisation should have picked up on. Should we have had a ‘Hell Yeah’ or ‘Love’ button instead?
Linguistic concerns aside, people may argue that ‘like’ similar to ‘friend’ has been devalued by Facebook; ‘like’ also operates in a much more ambiguous environment that doesn’t provide any context or idea of engagement level. For many marketers, it has NO value, beyond being PowerPoint-friendly and possibly giving a positive trend graph that is more about realpolitik rather than facts and business benefits.