As marketers, we all know that Facebook, along with other social media outlets, has allowed marketers to engage in two-way conversations with consumers. This has created the potential to foster meaningful, two-way conversations with consumers on a regular basis. But, is something missing?
Overview of the Facebook Fan
Facebook “Fans” are not consumers that brands want to ignore. In a recent June 2012 study, ComScore reported that exposure to content that brand Fans see organically result in higher purchase rates. ComScore goes on to say that just because consumers don’t always notice Facebook marketing messages because in their newsfeed, it doesn’t necessarily mean those messages are not working.
ComScore conducted market research to test a sample group of consumers. In the case of Starbucks, 2.12% of the group exposed to organic Starbucks Facebook content made an in-store purchase after four weeks, as opposed to 1.54% of the group that had seen no such content but made an in-store purchase (a 38% difference). In the case of Target, 3.9% of the group exposed to organic content made an in-store or online purchase in the elapsed month, compared to 3.3% of the group that hadn’t been exposed. Facebook also released last summer that Starbucks fans spend more time in store than non-fans.
The Missing Piece
The problem with the Facebook Fan technology is that there isn’t a way to truly know who the superfans and opinion leaders are. Currently, there are not scalable ways to capture and use information about the “Fans” that brands engage with within Facebook. This defines Facebook as another mass communication channel. In simpler terms, the “Fans” may be experts about the brand, but when the brand speaks to the “Fans” they remain faceless – something that is not beneficial in the Facebook space.
Although this is a problem, possible solutions can lead to a Facebook world where there can be personalized interactions between brands and consumers. New technologies would enable marketers to develop rich data profiles of the consumers they interact with on Facebook. If brands know and understand their consumers’ interests and behavior, then content can be created in a more relevant and engaging way. This would result in more sharing from consumers enhancing word of mouth recommendations. Brands need to continue to focus on engagement and relationships with consumers by having a better understanding of who their consumers are with deeper psychographic data.
While interacting with Facebook fans via Facebook brand pages is a necessary investment, there is room for improvement. If new technologies can provide additional rich data provided on Facebook Fans, more targeted conversations can take place, resulting in more word of mouth buzz and potential purchases.