Are Your Facebook Likes Actually Useful? Sane Social Media Marketing, Part 1

Posted in Facebook Advertising

This post kicks off a series of articles, in which we’ll study essential social measurements and tactics. All over the world, companies are struggling to define social media success. As an industry, we’ve been social for years already. At first, lots of marketers dove into social, frankly, because it was there. Sure, there were fantastic stories of accomplishment and sales-valor, but ROI for many was ambiguous.

That’s all changed now as C-suite types hold marketers accountable for budgets expended in the name of “social”.  Everyone already knows about softer outcomes, like successfully instituting effective listening and providing better customer service by offering new social communication channels to customers. Now, bosses require explanations as to where the ROI is.

One thing’s for sure. The days of meaningless socialization for the sake of participating in social media are over.

Businesses worry about not going after the “right” or “big” enough metrics. “Where is the ROI?” they ask. Some CMOs even admit, in private, to feeling lost. Is the best tactic to seek lots of friends and followers? Do we even have to be in social? If engagement is really an important success metric, what type of engagement metric should we be going for? How do we measure engagement in meaningful ways that can be associated with revenue? What can we communicate to the C-Suite as reasonable KPIs? How do we justify expenditures? In this post, we’ll discuss the classic question: “Are our Facebook likes valuable?”

The beginning of any community building effort is a dogged determination to place focused fans in community by intentionally targeted Psychographics. Community building can’t be willy-nilly. Random fans won’t be nearly as useful for content marketing. The objective is to place a confirmed percentage of our target psychographic segments, in-community. This task, though seemingly simple, is daunting for many and a lot of hard work for most. Here’s how you measure it.

When it comes to earning likes in Facebook, it’s essential that marketers continually study who is actually in the community by density analysis. We always want to know the user count and percentage of key demos we own by subscription. This is important because, ostensibly, the idea of getting users to like or follow is so we can market to with content ongoing. If the users who like our page have interests that jibe with our corporate mission, things will be a lot easier later. In the alternate, unfocused likes most often have less value.

For instance, if there are 351,740 people in the United States interested in #Muscle car, we want to know:

  • What percentage of the 351,740 is in our community? Say, out of the 32,506 users who like our page, there are 14,252 confirmed users who like #Muscle car. That means our community owns (by like-subscription) about 4% of the #Muscle car FB segment.
  • What percentage of our overall community does the target segment comprise? Of our 32,506 users, 14,252 like #Muscle cars. That means that about 43% of our community is comprised of our target segment.
  • What percentage of our friends’ friends (second degree) as in the target segments? If we test to see how many friends of our 14,252 #Muscle car friends also like #Muscle cars, we might see that 56,708 are also interested. That’s about 16% of the 351,740.

Studying the makeup of a first-degree (friends) organic Facebook community (those who like your brand page) is easy. Essentially, we’re performing psychographic research on our own fans, as if we were going to place Facebook ads. Don’t be confused. We’re all familiar with using Google AdWords keyword tool to profile keywords for SEO. Just because we use AdWords keyword tool, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to place search PPC ads. We do the same sort of thing with FB ads. Even if you don’t place any FB ads, it’s very valuable to simply turn the Facebook ad’s create-an-ad-tool inwards, only studying your own community.

Now, filter your own fans by classic FB ads targeting.

Studying friends of friends (second degree) in the target segment is easy, too. Just use FB ads to target FB users whose friends are connected to your page. Again, dial in the #Muscle Car Precise Interest or whatever your target is.

In the report below “IG” means the total count of FB users in an interest group, as defined by targeting using Facebook ads. First degree means those who are subscribed to our brand page by likes. Second degree means friends of friends, which is important later for targeted sponsored stories.

It’s fundamental that marketers recurrently evaluate the focus of likes received. Use Facebook ad’s create-an-ad too to measure user count and percentage of key demos you own. This is critical because, supposedly, the goal of getting users to like or follow is so we can interact with compatible friends for marketing purposes. If the users who like our page have interests that mesh with our objectives, future interactions can be themed in ways to benefit all parties. From message testing to content marketing, these peeps will groove. Otherwise, we’re getting likes for the sake of likes.

Photo credit: © javier brosch

  • Michelle Stinson Ros

    This is what I LOVE most about this industry. Rather than play it close to the vest and keep skills like this in-the-shop, you willingly hand the knowledge hungry the keys to the kingdom.

    If more marketers used facebook’s ad targeting tools like this, Zuck would have nothing to worry about when it came to his stock options.

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Michelle Stinson Ross: We make it our policy to share most everything we know. Anyone who is going to compete with us, will. Also, nobody’s really competition to aimClear and we’re not competition to any third party. Thanks for taking the time to express appreciation.

  • Barry Tubwell

    Great post…..I did the % test and got a smooth %35 of the demo and %30 of the friends of fans in that demo :).

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Barry Tubwell: Cool! The 30% ratio is what we see for many incoming clients. In the future we’ll be writing about various methods to increase the percentage. How do you think that ratio could be increased in your case, and what is the address of your FB Page please? :).

  • Catherine Kellogg

    Ha! Great post! I did the same exercise last month on one of my page’s fan base with some of our direct competitors. But then my Facebook rep was able to pull a much more complete profile of my page fans with page affinity indexes and fan overlap data. It’s worth asking for and less painful, plus it may return affinities you had not thought of.

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Catherine Kellogg: Yeah I know, some of it is so sideways. I’m surprised that you would share this in public. FB shares inside stuff w/ our team and we signed NDAs for anything that is not publicly announced. To your point: B discontinued “Affinity” reports in the public UI about a year ago when the neutered social stemming metrics. You have them, as do others who spend a substantial amount on FB Ads. The report you are discussing is not standard issue and only for spenders. I would enjoy sharing what we’ve seen on the inside of FB, but can’t :). Thanks for stopping by.

  • Diego

    I’ve seen that depending on the type of business social can be totally useless. Because little companies dont have the resources to improve and handle a social network without creatring more damage than benefit.

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Diego: It’s kind of strange. Companies that totally tender to the massive public at large, can do well at social because community building does not need to be focused. However if the community building assignment requires putting focused humans, tracked by percentage of affinity groups, then building social can become a much more challenging endeavor.

  • Barry Tubwell

    Hey Marty, is there a email I could send you my reply to as I don’t like talking public about the exact pages I work with but I am SUPER honored to be able to share this with you and the aimclear family personally.

  • Barry Tubwell

    @Marty “How do you think that ratio could be increased in your case”

    Well for one, I would have just sole targeted my top 5 states in the USA and my top provs. in Canada & U.K. to the the most bang for my (friends of friends) Buck.

    Also, had i found your blog a bit sooner, I could have gotten the fan base for maybe %25 cheaper 😉