Social media not only connects people with each other, but also with just about everything they buy, watch and consume. Nielsen’s new social media report looks at trends and consumption patterns across social media platforms in the U.S. and explores the rising influence of social media on consumer behavior. Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, their biggest finding is that Americans spent over 53 billion minutes on Facebook during May 2011, making it the most visited site on the internet.
Some other important findings by Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report” include:
• Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the internet
• Females and 18-34-year-olds are the most active social networkers
• Nearly 40 percent of social media users accessed content via mobile phones
• Users aged 55+ are driving the growth of social networking through mobile devices
• 53 percent of social networkers follow brands and 70 percent of active adult social networkers shop online
As marketers, now that we know that Americans are on Facebook for extended minutes each day, how do we engage them? Fan count (liking a page) alone is not a good metric for engagement. Community engagement (likes and comments) on average sits around 3 percent, according to Moontoast. To increase interaction with the fan, companies and organizations should utilize different types of content to drive conversations that deepen the relationship with the community and drive “potential fans” to “superfans.” According to Moontoast, there are five types of fans at different levels of engagement: potential fan, engaged fan, advocate fan, purchasing fan–and last but not least, superfan. In order to attract a potential fan, you must have reach (active fans, high count of shares, likes and comments that help word of mouth advertising). Once a potential fan has chosen to “like” your brand, you must interact with them to take them from potential fan –> engaged fan. After engagement, it becomes critical to drive impressions into sales (ROI) and turn the engaged fan –> purchasing fan. A purchasing fan then becomes –> advocate fan or super fan by referring and promoting your brand to their network of friends and family.
The following graphic by Moontoast shows the anatomy of a Facebook fan (click on graphic for full-size image).
So how do you turn potential fans to super fans? Here are some key methods to engage fans on Facebook:
• Surveys – Ask your community questions to get feedback – do you like this or this?
• Photos – Share photos of live events, behind the scenes at the office, photos that prompt comments (what do you think of this?) and photos of new products. Ask questions in the title or description of the photo and participate in the comment thread.
• Videos – Use a similar strategy to photos or take a queue from the Old Spice guy and make custom videos for specific users in your community based on a question they ask.
• Comments – Comments are what started social. Jump in to your community’s posts and comment on them. Conversations take the relationship to a deeper level.
• Free Downloads – Offer communities something for free. Free is the first step toward commerce. Some of the best campaigns have been free offers that let people discover something new from their friends. Friend-to-friend marketing is the essence of social media.
• Commerce – Fans want discounts and they want to receive notices of the next sale. Learn from the wave of discount retail sites and implement similar strategies to your Facebook page.
Introducing commerce as part of your overall social media strategy is a great way to reward fans and create buzz about your Facebook page. Commerce comes into play when you empower your Facebook page to reward those fans with great offers. That could be deep discounts, items only sold to Facebook fans, limited edition or autographed items, etc. Teach a community to show up every Tuesday at 10 am for a deal, and you will reach an entirely new level because suddenly it will be worth it to them. Commerce is a great way for a Facebook fan to get a payoff. If you treat customers well, word will spread.
Takeaway: While Americans spend a lot of time on Facebook, fan count (liking a page) is not a good metric for engagement. To increase interaction with the fan, marketers should utilize different types of content to drive conversations that deepen the relationship with the community and drive “potential fans” to “superfans.”