The lovely people at online magazine Imperica asked me to write a short piece on my experience conducing this project. It’s not a bad read, but it is rather dominated by a giant photo of my face, for which I can only apologise.
What I learned
- Being a social consumer is tiring; 6 or more brands a day requested a Like.
- Your newsfeed quickly becomes impossibly ‘noisy’ once you start Liking brands.
- Too many brands are driving people to Facebook without giving a reason.
- Telling me to “search” or “find” you on Facebook is no use if you aren’t the top result.
- Social media links are slowly becoming the default sign-off to advertising…
- .…but it’s extremely disappointing when the Facebook page is ‘off campaign’.
- Brands need to incentivise people to move from email updates to Facebook engagement.
- Being told that your friends like a page is a powerful motivator.
Calls to Action
Research from DDB Paris found that some of the top reasons for “Liking” a brand on Facebook are related to promotions, new products and exclusive information.
Research by IBM backed up this view by comparing what consumers want from social media vs. what brands THINK consumers want from social media. They discovered a huge perception gap.
These studies, along with my week of social consumption, beg the question, “why aren’t brands telling people what to expect from their social media?” It stands to reason that suffixing “Find us on Facebook…” with “…for exclusive offers” would increase the rate at which consumers become fans.
Another discovery from my week of social consumption is the sheer amount of brands requesting that I join them for a multi-channel experience (email, Facebook, Twitter, brand websites) without providing a compelling reason why.
These brands already have my attention in a single channel, their email newsletters, which I have chosen to subscribe to – what they aren’t telling me is what I stand to gain from choosing to partake in further interactions in other channels. How will my experience improve?
Some brands have already found smart ways to incentivise this move from email only to email + social media (source: Mashable):
- Dingo, a dog food brand from Ohio, included a promotion that would only kick-in when the Facebook page reached 5,000 fans (from a base of 300). They had an unprecedented take-up, with fans forwarding on the email to their friends and encouraging sign-ups to get the offer. They hit the 5,000 mark in just 3 days.
- Bag retailer Timbuk2 included an opportunity to win a bike, helmet and messenger bag in an email to its 100,000 newsletter subscribers. It received 6,500 clickthroughs vs. just 9 from its generic social call to action.
- In my study, just 1 brand offered me something in return for making the move from email to Facebook – Ocado gave me the chance to win £100 worth of groceries. Something I felt I had no chance of winning, but was a simple enough action to do on the off-chance that I might get lucky.
Death of the microsite
It’s early days, but there is a slow move towards signing off brand advertising not with a link to a microsite or even a full-blown brand website, but to a social media link:
The reasons why brands would want to do this are clear: firstly, consumers are already there (Facebook is now even more popular than online pornography in the UK) and already log in multiple times a day, with an average social media session lasting 22 minutes (Experian Hitwise research 2011) .
On top of that, if a consumer “Likes” your brand, they are opting in to receive a steady stream of updates, content and engagement, the likes of which they wouldn’t receive from a microsite (most of which are visited only once) unless they signed up to a newsletter.
I’m off to go and Unlike 46 brands…catch you soon, thanks for reading. Any questions please contact Andrew Blakeley - @ablakeley on Twitter.
Whilst perusing Facebook an advert informed me that a few of my friends already liked Becks Art Crawl, and told me I could receive regular updates if I liked it too. So I did.
The page allowed me to dive further into the brand and its association with art, complete with a timeline of previous label designs, and talk of upcoming ones from cool artists.
For true lovers of the brand comes a true Facebook exclusive, allowing you to order two limited edition designed glasses to enjoy your becks from at home - providing a way for fans to show their love of the brand off even more with a real, physical connection to have in their house - also serving as a brand prompt.
In terms of free stuff (rather than paid for glasses) there’s access to exclusive music created by artists specifically for Becks, which users can listen to via Facebook.
For creative types, the art connection is taken even deeper, with a competition to design your own Becks label. Participants can download a template and submit their own ideas through Facebook.
Overall, a good experience for brand fans with plenty of ways to get involved and be creative, as well as the opportunity to buy into the brand in a very literal way with the option to purchase glassware.
Having stayed in the Hilton over a year ago I am obliged to receive emails from them. Had I not been wearing my glasses, though, I would’ve missed the teeny-tiny social media icons at the top of their latest piece of communication. I wasn’t sure why I should Like them, but I did so anyway.
The Facebook page - like the email - focussed on their loyalty scheme ‘HHonors’ of which I am not a member (having only stayed there once in my life). It gives fairly compelling reasons to sign-up to the scheme, including “a lifetime of experiences worth sharing”. I can see how someone who travels a lot, and who is a fan of the hotel, could get involved with this scheme, and having it through Facebook rather than a separate site seems like a sensible way to keep on top of collecting your points.
What is really good about the Hilton Facebook page, though, is the ability to find and book your hotel straight from a Facebook tab - perfect for those in a rush to book, or those just curious - this gives people the chance to sort out their stay without having to navigate away from the fanpage.
As a customer of online grocery store Ocado I receive regular emails from them. This week, I was given the opportunity to win £100 just for Liking their page, in celebration of the fact that they’ve reached 5,000 fans (they’re now fast approaching 8,000).
Other than the chance to win £100 I wasn’t sure what I stood to gain by Liking them, but the chance to win was a good enough pull. The bottom of the email was signed off with another social media link (the one that usually appears) inviting me to “Follow our van”.
The page itself is fairly bland, but FULL of positive sentiment apparently posted by people who just love the brand and the service, with plenty of people writing on the wall to propound the quality, promptness and convenience Ocado offers. Such is the quantity of this love that one has to click for more posts at least 10 times before getting back to the last post by the brand, which relates to a special offer. It wasn’t posted long ago, it’s just that the fans REALLY love Ocado and want to tell the world. Not a bad position to be in.
Budweiser ensnared me through a poster for Bud 66 - the lightly carbonated version. You may or may not recall a TV advert where men’s evenings are ruined by bubbles getting in their way. Sadly I didn’t get a shot of the poster, but someone on the internet did - it looks like this:
A fairly standard booze advert - big product shot with beads of condensation to make you thirsty, a big headline telling you what you’re looking at, and a NEW flash across the top. What is less usual for a booze ad is the Facebook logo in the bottom corner. It doesn’t have a call to action, it doesn’t tell me to find them, like them, look for them, or anything. Just the Facebook logo to instruct me that they will be on there somewhere. When I got back to my PC I wasn’t sure whether I Was meant to like Budweiser UK or look specifically for Budweiser 66 (the name of which had eluded me since I saw the poster).
There is a separate Bud 66 page, but it is much smaller than the main Budweiser UK one (which has a Bud 66 tab within it). It is also unclear whether it is specific to any country or a global page.
The page allows me to get involved in talking with the brand, and offers the occasional opportunity to win gig tickets. Following on from the bubbles TV advert is a repetitive-strain-injury-inducing-bubble-popping game. In 66 seconds, I managed to pop 204, which I felt was pretty good - until I saw the highscore table which showed scores going well into the 800s.
My rather sorry score has now been posted to my wall for all my friends to see how cool I am, and to join in and play the game themselves. A nice way to spread the brand a little further and get more people involved through through men’s natural competitiveness.
This weekend I was visiting my girlfriend’s family in Nottingham. Whilst idly watching the streets go by from the back seat of the family car I spied the faithful Facebook logo and Like thumbs-up icons that my eyes have become trained to see over this last week. It was on the front of an estate agents that deals with students.
The little speech-bubble area in the top left-hand corner of the window, which invited me to like them, was somewhat overshadowed by the giant orange advert proclaiming that they’ve not only giving away houses, but games consoles too. A pretty savvy deal-sweetener to get students to rent through you, I’d say.
The page itself is fairly uninteresting and relatively new. It currently has 37 fans, who will receive updates regarding new, available flats. This page’s existence, though, is only necessary during the few months of the year when students are looking for flats, rather than any sort of year-round service. Perhaps, then, they should focus on being a point of contact for their current tenants for 10 months of the year, and on the salesy available flats part for the other 2.
A Gillette Venus advert featuring Jennifer Lopez caught my eye. Actually, Jennifer Lopez caught my eye - the advert was fairly irrelevant to me at this point. However, at the end of the advert, I was drawn not to JLo, but to a Facebook logo and the promise of Jennifer Lopez exclusives.
Naturally I jumped at the chance to Like this, and it was a nice surprise to see a brand actually offering me a reason to find them on Facebook (content) rather than just instructing me to do so. I searched Facebook as instructed, and was surprised to see only 104 people liked what appeared to be the correct page. Perhaps JLo’s pull isn’t what it used to be in the UK (though to be fair the page has only been open 2 days).
The welcome page features copy that could have only been written by a junior brand manager, stating as it proudly states “Introducing Jennifer Lopez as Gillette Venus’ new global ambassador!” - never have I ever heard a consumer refer to a celebrity who appears in a TV advert as a “global ambassador”. This sort of marketing speak should be kept well away from social media.
The copy goes on to promise exclusive content from the people behind JLo, with insight into her health, beauty and diet regime. Those who REALLY love the brand can find out what goddess they are - a hat tip to Venus’ ongoing campaign line of “reveal the goddess in you” - but right now there’s not a lot to keep people on this page for any longer than it takes to watch the TV ad again.
A television advert for Feliway prompted this latest Like. Feliway is essentially a cross between a Glade Plug-in and Febreeze that calms cats down. Something to do with hormones. The ads feature a nervy purple cat who goes around weeing on things and causing havoc, ultimately to be sorted out by Feliway. The cat never speaks, nor does it appear to have much personality, so I was surprised to be invited to “Follow ‘That Purple Cat’” along with a Facebook logo.
A search on Facebook for ‘That Purple Cat’ reveals that perhaps a purple cat wasn’t the most unique brand ambassador around in the cat products category, as apparently there’s also a purple cat in a Whiskas advert - one that people like enough to have spontaneously created their own groups about.
Nevertheless, Feliway’s page was the top result and I clicked through. On Facebook, the nervous and boring purple cat has been transformed into much more of a character - acting as a spokescat for the brand, and chatting gaily with the general public on all matters form “#tastytunatuesdays” to cute cat photos that fans have uploaded, to general cat advice. All is written from the cat, and all is fairly charming if you’re a bit of a crazy cat person.
Feliway have done a fairly good job here in creating a space for cat lovers to interact with the brand on a general level, but also to make the necessary product inquiries. They’ve even managed to include a product benefit in the bio, to carry through the story from TV to social media:”I’m a TV start thanks to my new relaxed disposition, and I’ll be posting hints & tips to help keep my feline friends as carefree as me” I will be back on the small screen soon so watch out for me.” Purrfect.
Sadly I don’t have a photo, but I can tell you that as I sat on the tube this morning my eyes were drawn to an advert about hairloss. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that my forehead is slowly but surely becoming a fivehead.
Belgravia’s ad signed off by saying “Visit our world wide online service” along with the link to their Facebook page, Facebook.com/hairloss - so I visited it once I got to work.
Belgravia’s page - in my opinion - does a great job of turning curious baldies into customer believers. There are a few bits of salesy content and videos, but what’s most engaging is seeing real people posting their own success stories along with photographs. They do appear fairly genuine, and if you’re someone seriously thinking about visiting the clinic, they could very well help you make your mind up.
The one thing that could really improve it would be the ability to find your nearest branch and book an appointment without leaving Facebook.
An amusing aside - 19 people have checked in via Facebook Places - I have a lot of respect for these man who laugh in the face of humiliation and say “hell yeah! I’m at a hairloss centre, what of it?!” to all of their Facebook friends.