Pradeep Chopra, co-founder and chief executive officer, Digital Vidya, shared some significant points during his workshop conducted on Day Two of the Click Asia Summit 2012. His session targeted those keen to utilise Facebook for the purpose of brand building, customer engagement, lead generation and sales. Some of the broad topics he touched upon revolved around effective Facebook marketing strategies, and tips to leverage content and applications to create fan engagement, maximise the performance of ad campaigns on Facebook, and measure the success of one's Facebook community.
• Visibility on Facebook is important, but engagement is much more important.
• To have a large number of fans on Facebook is necessary, but not sufficient for a brand to be successful on social media.
• A Facebook Group is ideal if you want to have private conversations with selective people, and a Facebook Page makes sense if you want to target as many people as possible.
• It is important to nurture your first few followers on social media and treat them as equals.
• Always have an associated visual when you post something on Facebook.
For the people, by the people
The workshop began with a simple, animated video that defined 'social media', and underscored some of its basic tenets such as the following: The content on social media is user-generated, the content is shared in real time (especially on Twitter), social media is an open medium with very little control, and it is a cost-effective platform.
To clarify some of these tenets, Chopra said, "On social media, it is more about managing the content than controlling it. And, while social media may be free, social media marketing is not."
In a nutshell, he stated that social media is all about building communities as all shared content is essentially "for the people, and by the people". At this point, Chopra reminded the audience that when Coca-Cola wanted to launch its own fan page, the authorities realised that it already existed, thanks to a couple of fans.
"The brand decided to go with the existing page instead of launching a new one. At the end of the day, a fan community belongs to the people and there's nothing better for a brand if that community has been created by the people themselves!"
Getting the 'edge'
Chopra went on to explain the concept of NFO (News Feed Optimisation), which refers to the number of on-going updates one receives through one's news feed on Facebook from the different pages one is a fan of (has 'liked'). NFO is important because not every message posted on a particular Facebook page is sent out to all the fans of that page through their news feeds. Rather, the decision to send out a post lies with Facebook and depends on the level of the user's engagement with that page.
This is closely linked with the concept of 'EdgeRank', an algorithm that determines which fans will receive the information shared by a particular brand on its Facebook page, and which fans won't. Each bit of content posted by a brand on its Facebook page is scored based on its relevance for each fan, and its appearance in that fan's news feed is then decided. Basically, every Facebook page has its own EdgeRank, and this is calculated by taking into consideration three main factors: affinity, weight and time.
Affinity refers to the level of interaction between the viewing user and the edge creator; weight refers to the type of information being shared in the post (whether it is a video, a status update, a tag or a comment); and, time refers to how recent a particular post is.
A basic checklist
Chopra shared some basic pointers that professionals ought to bear in mind while trying to leverage their brands on Facebook. Firstly, it is necessary to be clear about one's main objective for being on Facebook. Chopra cited an interesting example of a Delhi-based restaurant called Gunpowder, which uses its Facebook page primarily for the purpose of booking reservations.
Then, one must identify one's TG (target group), to create content aimed at this audience. "This content has to be based on the interests of the TG. You have to think on the lines of 'what's-in-it-for-them'," cautioned Chopra, because it is all about what a brand can offer to its TG.
Once the content has been created, it has to be published. At this stage, it is crucial to present the information to the TG in an engaging manner. According to Chopra, the degree of engagement can be increased by using case studies, polls, debates, contests, educative information, crowd-sourcing techniques, images, videos, humorous content, sensationalism, 'breaking news' formats (such as linking current affairs to one's brand, the way Amul does), games/applications, and entertaining articles.
Lastly, the effectiveness of one's efforts to market one's brand on Facebook needs to be measured. "This is why scalable content is the key," offered Chopra. This measurement is possible with the help of Facebook metrics such as 'Facebook Insights' and 'People Are Talking About This', amongst others.
Spruced with informative videos and inputs from the audience, the interactive workshop taught participants how to leverage their brands and businesses on Facebook. "Launching a Facebook page is free and takes only a minute, but nurturing an online community is a lifelong task," said Chopra, highlighting the fact that Facebook marketing is a long-term process.