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How to win Facebook fans and influence brands

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In today’s day and age, social media interaction is a no-brainer for companies. Most large business houses have established a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, though not all achieve the same level of success. This is because how you do it is a big brain-teaser, and almost everybody is on a learning curve. Given the myriad ways, and tools, available to marketing teams, the means you employ to attract and engage a broad audience are a good mix of intuition, insight and streetsmarts.

Online Circle, a Melbourne digital media agency whose clients include Kraft Foods and Mercedes-Benz, has found a way to tell you how well you are doing. It measures and analyses Facebook pages of corporates, bringing insights into how companies creatively, or otherwise, use the social media site and how well they actually do.

Its bi-monthly Facebook Performance Report should be a must-read for the marketing folks, especially those that are only now dipping their feet in social media. The July report, available for download here, covers the top 20 brands across 12 sectors, and examines what they do – and achieve – on Facebook.

Do you really get it?

A broad conclusion: Consistent tactical and promotional themes bring high engagement and expand fan base.  So, competitions, special offers and even “creative, visual and often humorous posts” lead to high visibility and growth.

So who really gets social media?

For sometime, it was the FNCG Snackfoods, unsurprisingly perhaps, exploiting our craving for snacks. But retail fashion has now upstaged that sector. Many, or perhaps even most, of us now care a lot more about how we look, rather than what we munch. This sector added 140,906 fans in July, the highest by any sector, and today has over 3.28 million Facebook fans.

FMCG Snackfoods experienced the second highest fan growth of 92,509, raising its overall number to 3.06 million.

FMCG Beverages, with 2.55 million fans; Department Stores with 1.26 million; and Automotive with 1.23 million fans complete the Top 5.

An interesting point about the data is the skewed nature of the fan distribution. The Top 5 sectors account for 78.4% of all Facebook fans, suggesting the other seven industries could do a lot more. Of the bottom seven, Retail – Grocery alone has a fan base of a million.

The report also provides evidence that other sectors are trying hard to catch up, and doing way better than they used to.

In fact, Banks an Financial Institutions, and Travel – Accommodation recorded the highest rate of growth of fans in July – 27.3% and 11.3% respectively. What is even more striking is the engagement rate – defined as the average of people talking about represented as an percentage of total fans. The banks had the highest engagement rate of 8.6%, and travel was second with 7.2%. The next highest engagement rate was 5.1% by Retail – Grocery.

“Businesses that understand and pay attention to competitive and industry benchmarking, both locally and internationally, have a deeper understanding of their own brand and where it sits in comparison to others in the marketplace,” Online Circle said, adding: “This information can then be applied tactically and strategically to improve the performance of their Facebook page.”

Online Circle is led by CEO Jeff Richardson, a 20-year marketing veteran who has worked for Telstra and consulted with companies such as McDonald’s, Qantas, United Energy, ANZ and Verisign.

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