In one of your talks, you mentioned the “death of Facebook fans”. Is that true? Is Facebook, as a marketing tool, following the route of Friendster and Multiply? – Dan, Marketing Manager

Facebook is an established marketing platform and it will be some time before it goes away. Living in the social capital of the world, it would be hard to imagine how we will go online and not use Facebook. Currently, around 95% of internet users are on Facebook, which makes it aneven more compelling platform for brands to communicate to their consumers. If you look at the reach of a single newspaper or magazine, or even a radio station, how many of them could boast of a reach of 30% of the total Philippine population? At the same time, people on Facebook, or internet users for that matter, are highly mobile and have good purchasing power.
 
When I mentioned the “death of Fans”, I basically meant that fan, as a metric, will not be the main focus for next year. Last year and this year, most of the major campaigns of most top brands in the Philippines are all about acquiring a strong FB audience base, or what used to be an FB term, “fans”. However, we have seen a migration on what brands are looking for to something beyond fans, and there are more metrics that have risen to measure the use of Facebook as a marketing tool. Websites like Socialbakers.com, that initially only reported how many fans each brand has on Facebook, are now also gauging other measurements such as the engagement and response rate, and even pushing it to creating their own ‘social score’.
 
Having worked with various brands today, managing their Facebook pages, there are now basic metrics one should always monitor beyond fans. Do note that I am not discounting the number of fans a brand has.
 
Consider the populations of countries: China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are Asia’s rising tigers, not because of any economy policy or government practice, but merely because of the size of the population. Population, and therefore fans for a Facebook page, is important.


However, the size of a nation does not determine a country’s prosperity. We have seen smaller countries like Singapore managed well and are among the most advanced countries in the world. While fans are important, ensuring that everyone in the population contributes their share, or in Facebook terms, their engagement, is just as important. So what are engagement metrics?

One should look at the number of interaction has on their wall. For every post, one has to monitor how many people are liking, commenting and sharing for each wall post. The rule of thumb is 0.1% of fans need to be interacting with each post. This ensures that the brand is posting relevant content that allows its fans to interact with them. Do note that Facebook algorithm is all about interaction. If a Facebook page does not engage, it loses its “relevance” to its fans, and future posts may not be seen anymore.

Another is the “People Talking About” metrics on the FB page. If you look at a branded page, beside the number of Likes (or fans), there is another number there which shows how many people are talking about the brand. This number measures any activity of an FB user related to the branded page, including posting to the page’s wall, “liking”, commenting, or sharing a page post, deal, or content on the page, answering a question posed to fans, and mentioning a page. It is all about how much the brand is being literally “talked about” by the Facebook population. The theory is that the higher your “People Talking About” number is, the better. I once did an average, and for the Philippines, after averaging the top 100 pages, the average engagement rate (which means People Talking about divided by the Number of Fans), is 4%. So if you are above 4%, you are doing well. Of course, I’ve seen pages with 30%, and some at 90.
 
In the end, note that the number of fans and engagement is important. One cannot do without the other. As Facebook becomes a mainstream digital platform, brands must look at Facebook beyond being a personal website where one posts their pictures, but as a marketing platform for brands to communicate and engage their target customers.
 
Donald Lim is the Chief e-Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. Please email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text 0917-6271888 / 0918-81-168-88. Please also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.