I go to Facebook for a few things.
1. To see what my friends are doing.
2. To make sure no one has posted a picture of me from 15 years ago.
3. To share a piece of inspiring content, a song from Spotify, or a Ted Talk.
4. To post pictures of my dog Athena.
5. To go to my running community on Facebook.
While I am a Facebook user, I’m also a marketer and a “content person.”
Sometimes as marketers, we have an “us” and “them” mentality when it comes to marketing. And while the word “user” is usually shelved for discussions about drug-addicts, this word “user” is representative of the way we treat our Facebook fans with a one-size fits all approach. Recent studies show it’s backfiring.
A recent Ad Age study—using the “People Talking About This” metric—based on likes, posts, comments, tags, and shares, reported that only 1% of Facebook fans engage with brands on Facebook. Further proof of what Karen Nelson-Field, senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass Institute said in the Ad Age piece.
“Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media,” said Nelson-Field.
For all that we talk about the end of megaphone marketing, it appears we are still doing it, but with content on our brand’s Facebook pages. But it makes perfect sense to me why the same Ad Age article reported the average Facebook engagement rate from fans for brands is .36%.
Niche Communities Who Congregate Around Content
The article says that online sharing takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers.
The team at BuzzFeed, a platform that captures the most viral content on the web, looked at 50 stories that had received the most Facebook traffic since mid-2007. What they found was the largest stories on Facebook were the “product of lots of intimate sharing — not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking.” People share information when it’s relevant to the people in their own community, among their friends.
If I want to talk about running, I go to my closed running community. I trained for the SF Women’s Nike marathon last fall. I belonged to a private Facebook Group with the other East Bay Team in Training members. If I wanted to talk about anything related to marathon training, I would only post content about it in this particular closed Facebook group.
I wouldn’t burden all of my Facebook friends with these intricate details about marathon training, because they simply wouldn’t be interested.
Picture of my offline Facebook group, my coach Al (see Do the Damn Thing shirt), and me at the actual SF marathon.
The Buzzfeed team says “content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinarily people sharing with their friends.”
We know this makes sense when we think of how we use Facebook, so why do we continue to throw content at the wall and hope it sticks?
Houston we have a problem.
What do you think?