Guest Column: Six things brands should avoid on FB

Saurabh Parmar, Founder & CEO, Brandlogist lists the typical mistakes that prevent brands from making the most of Facebook

e4m by Saurabh Parmar
Published: Aug 30, 2012 3:32 AM  | 4 min read
Guest Column: Six things brands should avoid on FB

“A brand’s marketing mix should not be a function of WHO they are, but more of WHERE their customers are” – a classical adage on media planning.

Let’s look at which media Indians are currently on...

Dainik Jagran – 16.4 million
The Times of India – 7.62 million
Economic Times – 0.79 million

146 million television households with 600 million viewers split across various channels

100+ million users, with Facebook having 50+ million users

Digital, especially Facebook is no longer niche! Its audience base is larger than any other print publication (5X of The Times of India) and bigger than any TV channel across the country. By numbers alone it should be among the top three elements in your media mix, but the reality is quite different. Following are the typical mistakes or misconceptions and how we can change that:

Facebook is considered as part of a checklist “we should do this”, but not a brand driver for most brands
Isn’t it ironical that for one of the most important medium, there are hardly any strategic brand discussions but rather discussions on ‘likes’ and ‘people talking about us’ (which, without the proper context, are irrelevant)? Integrated campaigns on Facebook are still mostly about a contest rather than exploring what can really be done when people and brands get together. More campaigns where this interactive medium drives the marketing are required.

Content (misplaced) is a lost brand opportunity
Imagine if someone asks you “tell us something about your brand” and you start talking about films, movies, the latest news, ask them to participate in a random contest with a giveaway, etc., but don’t tell them anything about your brand (except your tagline and a promotion you are running). This may sound quite silly, but that’s exactly what brands do on their Facebook pages. Consumers by ‘liking’ the page, choose to listen to you and talk to you, but brands miss a great opportunity by not sharing content related to the brand, including the behaviour traits which define the brand. For example, if your brand is about adventure or sports or humour or music, your content should reflect that as specifically as possible, rather than be about everything popular.

Facebook has the ‘right’ age group along with other age groups
The 18-34 (age group) demographics, the primary age group that most brands target, make 76 per cent of the Facebook audience in India. Even the 45+ age group is five per cent, i.e. is 2.5 million, which is almost 33 per cent of the total readership of The Times of India across the country and more than the top two business papers put together. Yet, some brands think it is niche and not for us. Strange, especially when you can target specific age groups, location or gender and psychographics!

Psychographics and not just demographics
Here is a medium that allows you to target people by interests, workplace, relationship status or who their friends are, etc. However, most agencies/ brands hardly ever get into more specific targeting, including detailed psychographic targeting since the CPC goes up and the number of likes goes down, which unfortunately is the focus. Good psychographic targeting gets relevant audiences, which impact the business directly.

It can give you reach, yes it can!
One common misconception is that the medium can’t give you eyeballs, but just gives engagement. Though I agree with the fact that eyeballs or reach is not what the medium was meant for, but if required, with a careful mix of content and intelligent media planning, it can give you both. We ourselves have seen this and the budget here was six-eight per cent of what you would typically spend on print media to get this reach.

Ask the question ‘why’ and ‘so what’
The RoI problem can only be solved by focusing on the right goal; if we ask the wrong questions, we will always get the wrong answers. ‘Likes’, ‘people talking about us’, etc., should not be the primary metric, but relevant likes, relevant conversations, reach via relevant targeting… everything that connects back directly to build the brand should be. Because brand building can be scaled, but one million fans who are really not ‘fans of the brand’ cannot. So next time your agency tells you “we have reached 1 million fans”, ask them “So what? What next?” and “What does it mean for us as a brand?” Then you will have maximum RoI.

The author is Founder and CEO at Brandlogist Communications

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