Although it states the obvious, as Jeremy Toeman pointed out in a tweet this morning, an AdWeek article about the results of a recent survey of Facebook users has some good pearls of wisdom for independent communications companies wanting to create a fan base via Facebook.
The people most likely to be supporters of a Facebook brand site are those people who already like and/or use a product. Getting people to a Facebook site is important, but to engage them one has to make them feel important.
"……And once there, fans expect more than downloadable coupons. Rather, they want to feel more like a VIP who can access exclusive content, information about new products and yes, promotional offers, before the general public can, DDB discovered."
As with a web site, the article points out that a brand's Facebook page has to remain fresh and relevant, even to the big supporters of a brand. The article cautions that creating and maintaining a Facebook presence is not trivial.
The presentation from DDB provides interesting statistics not referenced in the article. For instance, the fact that, on average, users spend 55 minutes per day on Facebook is a proof-point to the comment made by Mark Cuban that Facebook is the web for some people. Half of the 500 million users log-on at least once per day. The presentation defines “Earned media”, which is content created by the user community that promotes a brand.
One conclusion from the survey is that, “Until the novelty wears out, brands seem to have nothing to loose (sic) by creating a fanpage.” The report suggests that if users don’t find an official fan page, then they might join an unofficial page. Brands also have to carefully manage publishing frequency, while creating compelling content that resonates with their fans. 61% of the people survey who had unsubscribed or hid a brand on their newsfeed cited the aforementioned reasons. Only 32% of those who unsubscribed did so because they were no longer interested in the brand.
One way to get around the challenge of keeping Facebook content current and compelling, as well as solve the challenge of not being able to control the data uploaded to Facebook (granted, Facebook has added hooks to allow one to export his data), is to post content on the brand's web site and have it trigger Facebook messages. Still, as it implies in the article and in the commentary, the definition of success will be keeping your current fans engaged and occasionally picking up other fans through the increased exposure that this supplemental online outlet provides.