Can you get Facebook to work for you, or is it all a waste of time and money?

I read this blogpost today, over on Queer Ideas: “If Facebook isn’t the future of social marketing, what is?“. Now – the author of the post, Mark Phillips, is a brilliant, brilliant man, and normally I agree with everything he says – as should you. On this one however, I have to somewhat disagree.

Mark references a report from Forrester, that says most organisations (also companies, I believe?) do not get much engagement back from social networks such as Facebook and twitter. The report (as I understand from Marks words), sort of suggests that this is a waste of time.

I have no doubt that the research is correct and that most businesses do indeed not get much back from their social channels. It is the conclusions – that this is the fault of the channel – I absolutely disagree with.

You see, most organisations and businesses are completely doing it wrong.

How many organisations do you know, who work with a comprehensive publishing plan where each and every Facebook post has a goal that is then measured and analysed?

How many organisations do you know who re-write each and every Facebook post 5 times, and put as much care into these words as words in an ad?

How many organisations do you know, who has a defined personality of who they are in social channels, that makes them recognizeable?

Not that many I will presume. And that is why they are not getting much back from their social channels.

Shit in, shit out.

As Facebook grows, it is only going to get harder to get organic reach. With 500 friends and 1-200 pages people follow, there are tens of thousands of posts Facebook could choose to show in your newsfeed. It’s only going to choose the best stuff. The stuff you usually interact with and find interesting. How do you expect to be one of those top 1-2% of posts, if you are not putting in the time and effort? You are not the pictures of the very cute babies in their lives. So you have to work harder.

You have to take the time to reply to those who do something for you. Even if there are 20.000 of them over a two week-period. You have to make sure you don’t talk like a robot. Like a press release. You have to make sure you don’t bore people to death. You have to become a personality. You have to plan, and work on it, and for the love of [insert your deity], you have to send people to good landing pages! Most landing pages are not prioritised, they are not user friendly, and they are not adapted for mobile. And from Facebook, most of your visitors are mobile. You have to do the work.

If you do, Facebook is one of the most rewarding channels. The Norwegian Cancer Society regularly gets a return on investment of about 8 when they advertise on Facebook. Most of that from donors who are new to the database. Those results are possible because they have done the ground work. I have worked with clients where we have increased organic reach tenfold just by paying closer attention to what is put out there.

I’m fairly certain that if you sent out a piece of direct mail that was a first draft, with a return form made of toilet paper, without a return envelope, where half the text was hidden behind another piece of paper – to people who do not know a single thing about what you do – that wouldn’t work so well either.

So that’s it. Fix your website, and put in the time and work to the social channels. Realise that just like not everyone opens the envelope you send them in the mail, not everyone is going to see your every facebook post. That’s okay. That doesn’t stop you from trying.

Do that, and I’m sure Forrester will have different results later on. 

Sharing is caring is cash

(Read this post in Norwegian here)

Earlier this year I found a little research project that Eventbrite had done on their own website. It proved the value of a share – for example every share of a purchase for a ticket to a consert or charity event produces 12 new dollars of revenue. Now, those of you who have heard one of my talks since then, have heard my rant on how on earth we are content to just have that little “f” or “t” in a quiet little corner of our websites if we know that each time someone pushes that button it gives us 12 new dollars. Why then, are we not actively asking people to share?!

It has, until recently, however just been my hypotheses that a more active pursuit of sharing would lead to to more revenue. But lo and behold; it is now Myth Confirmed.

Turns out JustGiving read the same article as I did, or at least thought of the same hypotheses, and decided to turn theory in to practice with some amazing results. For some time now, they have given donors little nudges and encouraged them to share the fact that they have donated to their friends, and telling them that this increases the chances of raising even more money.

The first month after these features were rolled out saw a 50 % increase in sharing! That in it self is great, meaning that their message have been spread much further than before. But the other number, the real number, the one we all care about, is even more amazing. This increase of sharing lead to an increase of 150.000 pounds in donations. £150.000! In one month!! We are talking real cash here. My rants are only going to get worse from now on. If I catch any of you without a rather prominent sharing-ask, I am going to smack you on the head.

And there is no reason to believe that this only applies to concert tickets and charity. If you ask someone – in the right way – to post a photo of the amazing shoes they just bought in your store, I’m pretty sure they will. You would probably appeal to their sense of pride and wish to brag, rather than their concience, but you get the picture. You’re losing money not asking people to share.

This is a great infographic from JustGiving, showing in detail how the money comes from different social websites. It also shows some very interesting differences in the average amount donated from the different sites and across different platforms. I am particularly curious to see some more intel on why there is such a big difference on the different average amounts from facebook desktop, facebook mobile and facebook app.

And below you can see Jonathan Waddingham’s full presentation of the sharing-project, source of the facts I’ve stated above!

How real people use social media to make a real impact

Since the tiny little share-button on this blog is obviously not enough: Please show your friends how smart and knowledgeable you are by sharing this blogpost to your networks;)