By Allan Maurer
On Facebook, top brands with the most fans are separating themselves from the rest of the world. “It’s getting harder and harder to displace the largest brands on Facebook,” wrote Jim Tobin, CEO of Ignite Social Media, in a recent blog post.
Ignite, which Tobin founded in 2007 when there were fewer than a handful of companies focused on social media marketing, has been tracking Facebook brand pages the last 18 months.
In October, for the first time, none of the top 20 brands changed places from the previous month. Facebook itself is number one (“They have an unfair advantage,” Tobin notes). YouTube is 2, Coca-Cola 3, Disney 4, MTV 5, Starbucks 6, Oreo 7, Red Bull 8, Converse All Stars 9 and Converse 10.
That list points out the verticals that do the best. “There is a real clustering around certain types of products,” Tobin says. The top 20 tends to include those that are fashion, food, entertainment and technology oriented.
Some, Tobin says, should get credit for building their brand presence on Facebook well, while others just got lucky and still others haven’t done much with assets they were handed via acquisitions.
Wal-Mart, for instance, “Has done a tremendous job,” he says, while Disney “Has done a spectacular job of touching on the nostalgia that goes with their products.”
Most brand fans interact with Coke or Disney or the others via their Facebook newsfeed, and other brand Facebook tabs (for photos, videos or more information) underperform, Tobin says.
Keys to top brand success?
What are some keys to their success? Tobin, who wrote the book, “Social Media is a Cocktail Party” in 2008, is one of dozens of digital media and marketing thought-leaders participating in the Internet Summit at the Raleigh, NC Convention Center Nov. 15-16, preceded by TechMedia’s famous Deck Party at the Convention Center the evening of Nov. 14. Tobin will discuss the secrets of the top 50 Facebook brand pages at the event.
But here are a few hints.
The number of times a brand should post will vary depending on the product(s) sold, he says. “If you’re Coke, a product someone might buy several times a day, you’ll use different tactics than if you’re selling a car someone buys every five years.”
But post fairly regularly, he adds. The average for top brands is roughly twice a day, a figure that varies according to the degree of engagement fans bring to its Facebook page. “If you are an email service provider, you are going to have a looser attachment than a movie maker.”
Post on weekends
Tobin echoes what we hear most social media gurus tell us these days: many if not most social media people post to Facebook during business hours. That’s their job. But, he points out, “You see dramatically increased fan engagement on weekends, so doing some outside regular business hours is a good strategy.”
That does require thinking about what to do if a post gets a strong reaction that needs a response while you’re at the pool, he adds.
Tobin warns, however, that taking a lecturing tone with people on your Facebook page the way Bank of America did recently over the dust-up concerning debit card fees “Is not a good idea.”
We saw that happen with a number of firms over the last year – including some tone problems when LivingSocial encountered people trying to cash in on more than one Amazon discount deal. It led to a long set of posts and responses – some perhaps ill-considered – on the firm’s Facebook page.
“The better the prize offered, the more likely people will try to scam it,” Tobin notes. “You have to expect that. Be ready. But don’t attack them.”
But the LivingSocial incident was minor compared to the way Nestle handled the brouhaha over palm oil, Tobin says.
“That’s one of the reasons you don’t just hand over the keys to an intern. Sarcasm and irony do not come across well,” he says.
For our interview with Tobin back in 2008 see:
- Facebook Insights update should lead to more engaging brand pages
- Top brands creating Google+ pages in increasing numbers
- Facebook, Youtube, Twitter dominate social media brand ranking
- Facebook, YouTube, Twitter top social media brand value ranking
- Facebook’s Graph Search means brands need to emphasize local (infographic)
© 2011, TechJournal. All rights reserved.