In my book, “Piece of the Fame,” I discussed Facebook’s algorithm “EdgeRank” and gave my readers suggestions on how to best direct their efforts to make the most of the system. Most of all, I counseled my readers to focus less on accumulating Fans on Facebook (and certainly NOT paying for them), but rather to increase engagement as much as possible through quality content and most importantly, to push their fans to owned media such as their email list and their website.
Now that we’ve reached a new low both figuratively and quite possibly literally in terms of Facebook allowing you to reach your community, what should you do now? How can you still make Facebook work for you? The balance of this blog post is dedicated to giving you four ways to power-up your efforts for your Facebook Fanpage:
First, I counsel people to maximize the personal connections made via their personal Facebook profile. To this day, Facebook is still the most friendly to individuals and least friendly to brands. As long as the people stay, brands will continually be forced to find ways to engage with the platform, unfair fees or not. As long as the people stay, you have to have some kind brand presence on Facebook. That said, nothing prevents you from activating your personal network in support of your brand and thereby taking advantage of the still more plentiful permissions and liberties that are afforded to a personal profile.
Second, every post that you make should be of high value so that you continue to effectively engage the people that you are managing to reach. Just because the visibility numbers on Facebook have plummeted doesn’t mean that you should take a parachute out of your content strategy and efforts. If anything, find better ways of creating a consistent flow of quality, visually-engaging content to share and encourage sharing amongst the network of the Fans that you do manage to reach. If they like your content, they’ll be sharing via their personal pages, without the same restrictions that your brand page has, so this still has the same high-level of benefit that it always has had.
Third, while maintaining a high level of content quality, post more frequently. Increasing your number of posts just plays on the basic math of increased possibilities of reaching more of your community, assuming that Facebook is not continually cutting you off from a pre-designated portion of your Fans.
Fourth, make each post count. As I suggested in “Piece of the Fame” include a directive or opportunity in each post that will allow you to deepen your connections to your Fans so that you won’t be so reliant upon Facebook to reach them in the future. Most important, include links and reasons to sign up for your email list or your site’s RSS feed. In this way, no matter what Facebook decides now or in the future, you can still control your own hard-earned relationships with the people that have joined your digital community.
Generally, when people think of “social media,” they envision the platform side of things, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Path, Foursquare, Tumblr, etc. Well, when working on the “Born This Way” release, we were responsible for having a much broader view of things, at least, those of us ‘riding the bench’ at social media and digital strategy agency.
While most of the larger “all hands” meetings were dedicated to reviewing the major touchpoints of the album, which I’ve outlined in previous posts, and which have been discussed in the Mashable article, amongst other features, I think that some additionally interesting work was being done in the break out sessions that my team was responsible for. I thought that this information might be particularly helpful for you and your own pursuits in social media marketing and branding.
If you had the chance to read “Life as a ‘Bench Player’ on Lady Gaga’s Team – ‘Born This Way’ Launch Edition,” you would see the word “touchpoints” listed very frequently, as I personally felt like that was a key element to the campaign. The objective was to create as many touchpoints as possible, or places and ways in which fans and potential customers could interact with the album on their turf and (mostly) on their terms. We wanted to bring the album to them.
Well, another element that fits into the concept of touchpoints, which is very, very important, is blogs (awkward construction, but yes grammatically correct “is blogs” – go figure). A large part of a digital/social media marketing agency’s job is to have their finger on the pulse of the universe of blogs in existence, classified across all of the various possibilities of lifestyle verticals. We had and actively developed and maintained robust lists or indexes of blogs for unimaginable segments, from as broad as fashion and pop music, to fantasy book readers (because we had some early information that a unicorn would in some way be involved in the album and its graphical elements).
The idea was to find as many different lifestyle intersections as possible with the album and essentially create windows into the project from that lifestyle perspective. The unicorn example is a great one – ok, so there will be unicorns? Who would be interested in that? Fantasy book readers? Ok, let’s find out where they live online. Now, who else? With that information, we were then armed to super-serve those people, where they reside, with content relevant to them, but that also tied into the larger project. In this way, you give the audience an authentic and personalized entry point, but still maintain the integrity of the project. Think of an octopus with specially-themed tentacles.
This can work for you as well. The beauty of social media is not only just the ability to get your message out there, but it is also to be able to better understand (first) and then specifically target (second) potential customers (or employers, fans, listeners, viewers, etc.) by bringing relevant tentacles of your project directly to them, where they normally reside online.
If you want to learn more about this “tentacle” approach in the aspect of social media marketing and brand development concerning blogs, my book “Piece of the Fame” contains a great interview with Paul Brunson (star of OWN Network’s new show Lovetown) as he discusses building his brand in 18 months nearly exclusively via the Internet.
I’m still catching up with all of the outpouring of positive comments, new connections and contacts from Friday’s feature on Mashable syndicated from Business News Daily. I know that people must be curious to know what it was like to work on Lady Gaga’s team, and I have to say that it was a far cry from what it would appear based on a certain comment made.
First, there was really no “I” in team. We all worked tirelessly to make this a successful project. From my team that worked for me at Atom Digital, to the team at the label, the management team, to everyone from the receptionist, to the woman at the top – we all pushed on overdrive for this record. We wanted to break records and were constantly trying to figure out how to leverage everything possible to make that happen. It was an effort to create as many touchpoints as possible. Remember that term, touchpoints, it will become important later.
Second, there was a lot of hard work. From everyone, especially Gaga. I remember being at the Oakland, California show, which was on the same night as the Google visit (what an incredible day, I got to meet Larry Page and Marissa Mayer, who are my kind of tech rockstars) for Google goes Gaga.
http://twitpic.com/4c9kwk – Just left Google, what a genius team. Tweeting video interview soon with details about album+Judas!
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) March 22, 2011
Not only did she do the fabulous interview (accessible here), but she also sat through a pretty extensive meeting that I can’t tell you about because I had to sign an NDA.
Let’s just say that of the 15+ people in the room, I was one and Gaga was another, Larry Page was another…amazing. But even geek-ish excitement is not what I remember most about that day. It was Gaga’s work ethic. She performed a 2-hour concert and then after backstage, had almost 100 people to individually meet, greet, take pictures with and play samples for of her (then) new album. And she treated the last person just as graciously (if not more) as she did the first. We didn’t wrap up until after 3:30 am. She was ready to head out to a club to party with the boys and meanwhile, I was exhausted by the day’s events, in the tour production office dazed waiting for a ride to my hotel to try to be ready for Twitter and Zynga the next day. She definitely outworked me, by far…this too is something to take note of if you’re looking for your own success.
Third, more ideas were generated than actual things we were able to fully accomplish. There were meetings upon meetings starting early into the process with the one question of “how can we make this even bigger?” When you have that one question driving the conversation, and if asked repeatedly, you get some pretty great responses. There was an idea for a “takeover” of various locations in New York (including Central Park), my personal favorite was “Born This Way” pop-up shops (party storefronts), and then there was the idea of getting a record…and a “healthy sandwich” at the same time (would have made for a massive “retail” footprint). BTW (by the way, not “born this way”), did you know that the largest retail music distributor in Indonesia is Kentucky Fried Chicken? But, anyway, I digress.
As the executive vice president, in charge of the digital marketing and strategy agency, we were responsible for being there, at every meeting, ready with ideas and solutions to help make this project successful. Not for the benefit of taking credit, but for the possibility of contributing to something groundbreaking and incredible.
Other than for the benefit of this post, I really hate the idea that was introduced of the concept of a “bench player.” From my role as the head of the digital strategy agency, to the project managers and account coordinators that worked for me, absolutely no one fit that description, nor should they feel that they did. As the leader of any organization, I would never use such a term. It just doesn’t exist in the context of a successful team. Oh well, it’s out there, so I might as well own it. Shout out to all the other “bench players” with Championship rings! (If you know of any specific names of these players, please let me know – maybe I should do a tribute video).
As far as the “Championship,” it was the result of many practice and strategy sessions, strategic planning and insights, ideas, dreams, actions and much effort.
If you’re reading this and dreaming of your own success, my key takeaway for you would be the following, find the touchpoints, whether they be blogs that your audience reads, places where they might go for coffee, other thought leaders in your space, YouTube videos, Google AdWords, magazines, newspapers, whatever you can identify, and maximize the number of them that you incorporate into your campaign.
In a later post, I’ll also speak about the importance of email and the role of the most important touchpoint of all, connecting to a customer at the retail point of sale, particularly online. I don’t know how many were aware, but in my opinion, one of the strongest pushes came from online retailer iTunes, who emailed every one of their customers who had ever bought a Lady Gaga track. First time in iTunes history that happened. I could only find Perez Hilton’s coverage of it, but see here.
And finally, work ethic is the most important. Be willing to work harder than everyone else, including all of the “bench players” comprising your team.
My best, Jaunique
And by the way, if you’re interested in reading more about my thoughts on successful social media strategy, I encourage you to check out my book, “Piece of the Fame” available on Amazon and the iBookstore
“You must bring some element of your soul to what you say, what you post and what you do. Your soul is some aspect of the human experience: your fears, your failures, your joys, your humor, or your triumphs.” – Quote from “Piece of the Fame” p. 43
The book “Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy For Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand” is available now on Amazon and the iBookstore.
I read an article coming from Ad Age that confirmed the need for Piece of the Fame. Even among large-footprint researchers, leading minds in the business of digital media and advertising don’t have all of their facts straight, and this article proved to be a prime example. Half of it is correct and consistent with the metrics that I’ve seen across a number of Facebook Pages with which I’ve been involved, huge and not-so-huge: the truth is that if you include the initial “Like” only 1.5% of the Fans of a Page actually interact with that Page. If you take the initial “Like” action out of the equation, that number drops precipitously to 0.45%.
And then the other half of the article was not correct and was inconsistent with the nature of Facebook. A quote from the researcher that was included in this article, speaking on the engagement numbers:
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Karen Nelson-Field, senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass Institute who describes herself as a “Facebook advocate.” “People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can’t do. Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media. It’s great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic.”
I’m not going to make a comment on their data collection methods or the fact that they didn’t measure inbound traffic from links that may have been posted (they only used the “People Talking About This” feature to measure engagement), but what I will say is the conclusion above does not take into account Facebook’s use of EdgeRank, which is their algorithm that decides out of all the content posted on Facebook that your connected to, what you actually see in your Feed. So, that means for a brand operating a Page on Facebook, essentially, if people don’t engage with your content on Facebook, they will never see your content. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. If you’re putting a ton of time and resources (in other words, $$$) into your Facebook marketing efforts, and you’re seeing results of under 0.5% engagement, that means that for all those Likes that you purchased at about $1.00 each on average, you’re getting essentially no return on your investment. So, contrary to the above statement, a lack of engagement on Facebook is actually very bad because Facebook does differ from mass media, significantly. An analogy would be, let’s say you watch CNN and every time a car commercial came on, you changed the channel. Well, if CNN operated like Facebook, they would modify the commercials that you saw so that you specifically never saw another car commercial again, or any other commercial that made you change the channel. Mass media is a one-size-fits-all model where all content, whether it be advertising or premium creative, is weighted equally and seen by the entire audience. Facebook doesn’t do that.
I think that brands still have a long way to go in understanding what their efforts on Facebook mean in terms of real results. Somebody paid that researcher above a lot of money for the conclusion that she reached…
To learn more about EdgeRank and what it means for brands on Facebook, pick up a copy of my book, Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand on Amazon. I tried to clear up a lot of this misunderstanding about what is actually going on with Facebook Likes, because it seems as if even the major research shops are still somewhat in the dark. If you already have the book, discussion starts on Page 154.