SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
This week, we asked: Is your Facebook strategy focused on acquiring “likes”?
- No: 69.67%
- Yes: 30.33%
Facebook metrics have evolved considerably since the platform first started supporting official branded pages. There was a time when “likes” were the only tool a brand had for measuring whether its content resonated with fans. Now the network’s Insights panel includes more sophisticated metrics, included “Reach” and the “Talking About This” number, that help a brand understand how widely its message is being seen, shared and discussed.
But the truth is, it would be a mistake for your brand to replace an arbitrary fixation with “likes” with an equally arbitrary fixation on your “reach” score. Both are useful tools for understanding how well you’re connecting with fans, but they don’t tell you how effective your messages are at getting your fans to perform actions that support your brand. At present, most of the acts you want your fans to accomplish — donating, signing a petition, entering a contest, downloading a white paper, signing up for a free trial, backing your Kickstarter, etc., must be done outside of Facebook. That means that, at most, Facebook can only ever be one of many social tools for getting fans to accomplish an action. It’s an important tool, but still just a tool.
That may change in the future. Facebook has been nothing but eager to insert itself into all manner of online actions. Facebook e-commerce is already possible for some kinds of products, and it’s only going to become more common. Still, as long as Facebook interactions remains a step on the path to your brand’s ultimate goal, it won’t make sense to focus your Facebook strategy on any internal Facebook actions. Instead, you need to use Facebook to cultivate a following that you can then redirect to another platform where you goal action is easy to accomplish.
How are you using Facebook to support your brand goals?