Facebook: How to Maximize Earned Media [Research]

3 Ways to Earn Love on Facebook

The Beatles had it right when they sang “Can’t Buy Me Love.” No matter how much money marketers spend, they still can’t buy consumer love. But on  social media, you can earn it! 

On social media platforms like Facebook, marketers can post owned media they’ve created in the form of useful and engaging content and the accompanying community interactions. They can also place paid media in the form of on-site advertising. But these forms of media don’t necessarily translate to customer love in the form of sales. Despite this, these marketing investments can yield earned media in the form of shares, mentions and recommendations by satisfied consumers. (Here’s a media chart to help you.)

Owned and paid media only have an impact on the user. By contrast, when a participant shares their information it provides a chance for others to see it. Further, it carries an implicit endorsement from the person sharing it. This creates a multiplier effect for earned media. It’s effectively costless since the marketer hasn’t paid to create the additional content or advertising. 

Not all social media marketing campaigns are equally effective at generating earned media in the form of engagement, based on Wildfire’s analysis of 10,000 randomly selected Facebook campaigns out of over 200,000 campaigns that were run over a nine month period. Included in these campaigns were sweepstakes, trivia, quizzes, coupons, give aways, pick-your-favorites, and photograph, video and essay contests.

Here are three salient findings:

1. Focus on “What’s In It For Me” (aka WIIFM) campaigns to generate the most engagement.

Clearly define the reward or benefit to the participant. Additionally, keep the barriers to entry low. The more difficult you make participating the less people will enter. 

2. Allow participants to “Test themselves” to maximize social shares.

To ensure your contest is a success, provide users with a framework where they can test an aspect of their personality that they may not know very well. The more it  allows the user to find out something about him or herself that wasn’t known before, the more enticing the contest is. The key is creating tests around information consumers want to participate and share publically. 

3. Encourage social sharing by providing enticing content users and their followers want.

Interestingly, Wildfire’s study revealed that over four out five participants clicked on a newsfeed post shared by a friend who took a quiz who went on to take that quiz themselves. It’s a form of competitive testing. This earned media yielded over ten percent higher engagement rates translating to viewing, clicking and participating. (Here’s additional Facebook research to help you.)


5 Ways to earn love on Facebook

Here are five Facebook marketing recommendations based on Wildfire’s findings. (Before you dive into these promotions, check out these Facebook marketing tips.)

  1. Show some brand attitude. Leverage the power of your brand through social media’s 360 degree approach to reveal the aspects of your brand’s personality that customers and fans want to be associated with. Actionable Marketing Question: How does associating with your brand on Facebook improve their social standing?
  2. Focus on what your customer gets out of associating with you on Facebook. Think WIIFM for your target audience, whether it’s coupons or quizzes. Actionable Marketing Question: What do your fans perceive they get out of your social media relationship?
  3. Reward fans for sharing your content. It doesn’t have to be monetary. It’s about their moment in the spotlight. Actionable Marketing Question: Is it easy and fun for fans to participate?
  4. Schedule variety of different promotions. Using the same promotion over and over gets stale. As a result, fan engagement will decline. While quizzes do the best, if that’s all you offer, your audience may get bored and leave. Actionable Marketing Question: What other forms of contests and engagement can we use and how can we invigorate our existing ones?
  5. Track the appropriate metrics. As with any marketing program, you should measure your results back to your initial goals. Actionable Marketing Question: Have we set up a process to assess our progress, used a tailored call-to-action, and included a trackable code?

Everyone, including marketers wants to be loved and, as the Beatles sang: you can’t buy it. But if you follow the types of promotions that engage fans, you’ll be able to earn media and additional activity.

What other Facebook suggestions do you have for increasing engagement?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related articles of interest.

 Photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/The_Fabs.JPG

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