May 23, 2011

Facebook Success Beyond the ‘Like’

Marketers must look beyond fan count to find real success

Having a branded Facebook page has become near-essential for many businesses. As such, companies should give as much thought and energy into planning and managing their Facebook page as they do a traditional website.

“The rapid adoption of the ‘like’ button and the rise of the Facebook ‘homepage’ are indications that marketing on Facebook has become a necessity for businesses large and small,” said Kimberly Maul, eMarketer writer/analyst and co-author of the new report, “Facebook Marketing: Strategies for Turning ‘Likes’ into Loyalty.” “Yet the fact that some companies have made Facebook the primary way they engage with consumers online raises serious questions about the risks and rewards of marketing within another company’s structure and rules.”

Most Fortune 100 companies now use Facebook for marketing. And HubSpot’s “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing” report found that 44% of companies in North America see Facebook as critical or important, up from 24% in 2009

A study from WONGDOODY (now Wong, Doody, Crandall, Wiener) provided a set of benchmarks for Facebook marketers. Among the 84 Facebook brand pages examined, 88% of their operators said they posted video content, 82% solicited fan stories or comments, 79% had their wall open for fan comments and 66% actively replied to fan posts and comments.

These are just some of the tools in marketers’ arsenal to build engagement on Facebook, keep it high, and turn it into something that benefits the bottom line—loyalty.

“‘Like’ is only the beginning,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst and co-author of the report. “It is much harder to sustain the relationship post-click than it is to get consumers to make that first click. A brand’s Facebook fan base is only as strong as the effort put into managing it.”

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