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A (revised) Facebook Campaign


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:05 PM

I just had an interesting SMM research experience.

Thinking I have one niche that could play better with the FaceBook crowd I talked the daughter of a neighbour into volunteering fellow university student and FaceBook user friends to critique several marketing scenarios.

Six young women met me at a Starbucks, four had niche interest, two did not. Within an hour they were texting and calling others. Over several hours a couple dozen women (plus a few tag-along boyfriends) gave me answers to questions unthought and questions to answers I'd thought complete. I am still sending back queries for elaboration and clarification.

They not only totally redesigned my FaceBook strategy but pointed out a second niche site I have worth marketing there. More value received in a few hours with them than the previous several weeks thinking for myself. Note to self: in future a pub would be cheaper.

What The Young Women Told Me To Do:

Basically I have created a number of broadly personalised (specific small group targeted rather than individual) landing pages. Each aggregate selected existing site information (mini-portal? start-page? landing-page?) somewhat differently with about a third being common across all. While part of the domain there are no in-links from the rest of the site and SEs are disallowed. These new pages do out-link both to each other and to the rest of the site.

I then emailed each pages title and description with link to friend's daughter who looked things over, liked what she saw (having helped design it :) ), and initiated 'appropriate mentions' from her FaceBook account starting with the others from the coffee-klatch. The first day (yesterday) saw just under a hundred uniques, most of whom also went elsewhere onsite - likely my 'design team' and friends. It is now halfway through day two and it just topped 600 uniques with a couple hundred going onto the main site.

This initial response is rather encouraging.

#2 earlpearl

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 07:25 PM

What a spectacular idea. I have a site w/ facebook potential and have simply asked college kids about it.

Much better to get a group for hands on research, review and commentary.

Thanks, LOST!!!

#3 A.N.Onym

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 09:14 PM

I must me missing something. So what did the ladies tell you to do? How did you improve your FaceBook strategy?

#4 iamlost

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:16 PM

Clear as mud you say?

The typical SMM strategy is to open one or more accounts and do/put something on that site, i.e. start a Flickr group and tag each picture with your url, that will bring traffic to your site.

What they suggested was to have no FaceBook presence at all. Instead offer a compelling reason for interested FaceBook users to come to me and let satisfied (with initial seeding) FaceBookers do the viral marketing themselves. To optimise some pages for FaceBook instead of Google.

What I want after all is traffic from FaceBook, not to add content to FaceBook.

Think of how a news site, i.e. bbc.com supplies important snippets in two home page flavours: international and UK. Expand the flavour variations as appropriate for the niche. Multiple 'home' pages or summary pages targeting likely interests of sub-niche groups.

Example: If I am a FaceBooker interested in UK news I can pop out to a UK news summary page (with news from elsewhere included) with a title, an image or video and description plus a link to the full stories in the main site. Similar but different pages for EU, NA, SA, FE, etc. All tailored for a FaceBook demographic. Make skim read and click easy, one stop news shop designed just for you (and the others just like you).

The FaceBookers coming to these summary pages are pre-qualifying themselves. And it is non-SE traffic. Gotta love another mass traffic source.

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:57 PM

Okay, create pages on my own site, not on FaceBook - gotcha.

However, what kind of pages are FaceBookers interested in. As you said, short ones with links?

Moreover, how do you attract the FaceBook members to your site? Sure, you had the focus group active. But what if you don't know anyone from FB?

Thank you for sharing.

#6 iamlost

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 11:42 AM

A.N.Onym: I almost did not start this thread because your dry reaction and concerns occurred to me on reading my notes. Especially as there are some specifics I will not share. I decided in the end that sharing the rough outline might provide a start for others ideas. Sometimes a new perspective is helpful.

It was not meant to be a step-by-step guide to anything. No one method works for everyone or everywhere. Who knows, the whole bright idea may yet flop.

how do you attract the FaceBook members to your site?
By offering something some in FaceBook with an interest in my niche would want to read/check on a regular basis. Nothing new. And adding a few personalisation-type features. Nothing new.

what if you don't know anyone from FB?
So get to know people. Or find a method that works for you.

#7 Adrian

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 08:04 AM

Hehe, so providing good, relevant content targetted at Facebookers. Funny how obvious it seems!

Buying some coffee for that kind of market research should be worth it though huh :)

Be good to find out if this traffic you're picking up continues as a longer term thing, or whether it's a bit of a burst now because you initiated a conversation that is current, but dies off as people stop tlaking about it (if they stop talking about it).

#8 earlpearl

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 09:45 AM

Facebook is an incredibly powerful college social network. Some of my customers are college students and when asking about facebook they acknowledge they spend an incredible amount of time there as do there friends. Some, (anecdotal--not a study) say they spend more time there than any other social media site by far-as do their friends.

FB has expanded outside of the college and recent grad world, though I don't know how extensive that has been.

As mentioned I've been taking scatter shot questions about FB to college student customers of mine.

I've not taken it as far as Lost...but those students are a natural submarket of mine and very valuable.

In garnering comments from students, some have mentioned that direct marketing/advertising doesn't grab anyone's attention. One suggested a variation on a viral marketing plan as you must be doing.

Clearly if a site was selling memberships to American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) or viagra it wouldn't have any appeal. On the other hand topics of interest to students in college and recent grads of schools could have tremendous appeal.

Of other interest I read something recently about the difficulty for a University to contact current students. Not all have land lines and many don't give their cell phone numbers to the school. Evidently, most don't use their university email account very often. One comment was that FB would be the best source for contacting existing students in an emergency...but schools don't want to turn to it. How amazing.

It's a terrific initial post...but the rest of us have to experiment to utilize it. That is fair.

#9 BillSlawski

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 10:22 AM

I had been ignoring a facebook account that I had created a month or so back, but I've spent a little time there recently. It's easy to see why it has become popular. It has one of the more intelligent and usable interfaces amongst the existing social networking sites that I've seen, and really does provide plenty of ways to communicate and interact with others in meaningful ways.

FB has expanded outside of the college and recent grad world, though I don't know how extensive that has been.


It has been fairly broad. It used to be that you needed an email address from certain Universities to become a member. Now, you can become a member with a school or a business specific email address (no hotmail, yahoo, gmail type addresses).

I joined a couple of marketing and regional groups over the weekend. It's a site that is worth exploring, if you haven't done so, already.

I'd like to thank iamlost for starting this post, and getting people to think about how to appeal to an audience like the ones that frequent Facebook. You have me thinking about it.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 10:52 AM

One problem I find on FaceBook and it also affects MyBlogLog is that it's very difficult to find anyone else who may be there. In each case the search function is rudimentary. So for FaceBook unless you know the exact e-mail address under which someone has registered themselves, you cannot find them. I realize that is done for security reasons, but it makes it very much tougher to make connections.

#11 AbleReach

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 02:52 PM

Bravo, Lost!

Sounds like you had a ball and got some traffic, too.

I am a big fan of face to face research. Exactly what you did after talking to them is not as important as having opened the door. Even if you listed techniques, someone else who doesn't know the attitudes of the people you talked to could try to do the same thing and miss the mark.

It's not about what you do. It's about your understanding of connecting with the audience.

#12 skore

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 06:34 PM

Great post and thanks for sharing iamlost. As said above - if you want to know how to market to a particular site/network/etc - talk to the users. Recently I hired my sixteen year old niece specifically to help teach my staff about marketing to teens and having her help with campaigns for clients who are targetting the teen market. The early results have been phenomenal...

#13 A.N.Onym

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 07:29 PM

A.N.Onym: I almost did not start this thread because your dry reaction and concerns occurred to me on reading my notes. Especially as there are some specifics I will not share. I decided in the end that sharing the rough outline might provide a start for others ideas. Sometimes a new perspective is helpful.


Sure, blame the innocent for trying to learn how to do better.

My questions were not aimed to learn how to cheat the FaceBookers, but how to deliver more value to them.

A post without the info how the campaign was done would only be helpful for those, who can do this themselves without any assistance. That's why I am grateful that you brought the FB topic up.

I am fairly positive that almost any forum member here would do exactly what you say regardless of how much information you would bring up, but a guideline on how to deliver more value to the FB users would surely help the learning public over here.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 12 March 2007 - 08:27 PM.


#14 earlpearl

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:58 AM

Yuri:

I thought your question was good. I think Bill's suggestion is also good. Join FB. Start trolling around. Get a feel for it. I did a little of that a while ago and I'll go back in to see how the non-college aspect is growing. When I cruised through it in the past though the professional (non-college) aspect wasn't lively.

It's a different animal. The random questioning I've done from college students who are customer's of mine is that it is extremely popular and widely used. They also suggested that nobody would look at the advertising.

I'm going to investigate it more thoroughly a la the suggestions first made by Iamlost and skore. Get the participants to guide us through its rythem and then try and get a marketing program going that fits its style.

Not being a participant I can't add anything of value. But man oh man....I've heard it is the dominant social media within colleges...and on that basis it is potentially powerful.

#15 iamlost

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 12:57 PM

The sun came out so I took a couple of days off and went sailing, diving, and skiing (yes life is hard on the wet coast). The break from computers and the web seems to have helped settle my FB euphoria and better define some things.

Social Media is a very broad term encompassing very different activities. Some, like FB, are difficult to penetrate. You can't easily wander around 'scraping up' leads or 'depositing linkbait'.

Once you match your site niche with a substantial FB demographic (college student/faculty statistics work well for now) make like Google: think personalisation. As available demographic stats are not actually individual work around natural niche sub-groupings to create a faux-personalisation.

The problem with any differentiation of audience and presentation is SEs have tended to dislike it. They want everyone to be fed the same regardless of likes, dislikes, allergies, etc. Actually what has happened, thanks to SEO, is that everyone simply gets fed what googlebot's algorithm likes best.

Slowly the SEs have been overcoming their 'cloaking' phobia so that, for instance, geo-targeting is somewhat allowed. However, delivering 'personalised' niche material remains highly problematical, which is why I deny SE bots from larger and larger portions of my sites. They simply do not handle it well when offered by others.

Social Media is personal interaction. You (your site) have to interact in as many different ways as possible (not just the googlebot way) to capture and hold individual interests. Thus I created multiple pages: each with snippets of information, from around the site, of interest to that subgroup plus some common general info as filler.

The idea being that people, starting with FBers but hopefully expanding beyond, interested in the niche will drop by for a quick one page info fix. Hopefully on a frequent basis. Hopefully moving on into the rest of the site.

Unfortunately, this raises potential SE problems, i.e. duplicate content. I am monitoring my two 'test' niches for SERP changes. To date (almost a week) all's well.

Some interesting replies on the comment forms. Mostly positive, several requesting other info be included. A nicer class of comment from FB.

For the record: at 3 and 5-days out both niches show increasing traffic, between both, now above 5000 uniques a day. Over three-quarters follow links into main sites.

I have been mapping visitor geo-locations and the two sites show very different expansion routes. This I will be watching with interest.

#16 kulpreet_singh

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 06:08 AM

In order to market for Facebook, you need to understand Facebook and have a personal involvement in it. It does not hurt to have a personal Facebook membership, and to learn the ins and outs of posting links, videos, photos, and groups to your profile; joining groups; posting on walls; adding friends and defining relationships; and creating events, notes, etc.

There was a post above highlighting that you can either market on Facebook (through conventional PPC-PPM advertisement), or through less obvious methods (starting a group about your niche with the intent of creating awareness of your company), OR you can conduct SEO-SEM efforts to bring Facebook users to your website and encourage them to create a word-of-mouth storm on their profiles. They can post your article in a note, or your URL on their profile, etc. or you can start an event and they can invite their individual friends lists to that event, which would be related to your market.

I have found that Facebook marketing has yet to come into the mainstream and those that are capitalizing on it now are enjoying, while everybody else tries to catch up.

#17 tamar

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:53 AM

One problem I find on FaceBook and it also affects MyBlogLog is that it's very difficult to find anyone else who may be there. In each case the search function is rudimentary. So for FaceBook unless you know the exact e-mail address under which someone has registered themselves, you cannot find them. I realize that is done for security reasons, but it makes it very much tougher to make connections.


Facebook's search is not bad at all (compared to sites like LinkedIn, which I would imagine you're referring to?)

You can find Facebook users by first name, last name, firstname+lastname combination, group membership (search for something like Digg and you'll find groups with students who have Digg accounts). You can search based on favorite interests, favorite TV shows, and even quotes. I would say that the search on FB is not rudimentary at all.

However, the limitation of FB is that unless you're networked with the particular individual (based on their settings or preferences and your own network setting, e.g. New York, NY), you won't be able to actually see their profile. So it might say that you and John Doe have the same interest in a particular music group (and "Music" will be highlighted in the search results), but you won't be able to see John Doe's profile page (it will not be clickable) unless you establish a friendship.

Many students will not reciprocate a friend request unless you give them a compelling reason to do so. I remember friending up a fellow SEO, and she sent me a message awhile ago saying "Who are you?" I can't say that was the first time either. ;)

Another thing is that students of this day and age are more careful about who they befriend. If you say "Hey, I love the same music group as you," they might even block you (it happened to a friend of mine). They don't like who they perceive as "stalker" types.

So in all, you really need to proceed carefully and have a good gameplan. It might be a good idea to get introduced through other mutual friends, if you even want to go that route, because initiating directly can be extremely tricky. After all, there are real stalkers out there ;)

#18 iamlost

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:26 PM

One month later: I luv FaceBook!

Someone decided to Digg that post and all hell broke loose.
...12 hours later, over 23,000 people have been to this blog.

Kim Krause Berg : 20 January 2007 : Donít Digg Being Dugg

We know that SM can drive traffic spikes. My concern has always been: one, the lack of converting a measurable amount of that 'one referenced link' traffic to repeat 'bookmark' customers; and two, the extremely poor ad/aff conversion rate of that type of traffic.

Thus my experiment with FaceBook. It has been a month and there are some interesting stats:
* traffic: as mentioned previously the growth (and collapse) is much slower than Digg et al topping out just under 8000 FB referrals/day after 10-days. It has tapered off since then, 09-April being just over 1200. Total FB referrals 09-March thru 09-April inclusive: 120,000+.

Of special note is the conversion to bookmark/type-in traffic. That has grown steadily sitting at 4700+/uniques for 09-April. There were another 800+ from AOL on the 9th - likely also bookmark traffic.

The average return visit rate is just over twice per week. This puts bookmarked/type-in new unique customers acquired from this FB marketing intiative at approximately 15,000 (possibly to 20,000 with AOL).

Results: major traffic growth curve rather than spike; significant user conversion from FB links to their own bookmark links.

* backlinks: under a hundred. Most are from personal blogs, some from uni personal pages, none (yet) found from 'conventional' sites.

Results: as poor as expected.

* conversions:
* FB: both ads and affs lower (than niche averages).
* AOL: ads above, affs below (niche AOL benchmarks).
* bookmark/type-in: ads below, affs well up (niche bookmark benchmarks)
* coupon downloads 3x normal (redemption rate still unknown).
* directory usage: way way up. Fully a third followed at least one directory link off-site and/or downloaded address, map, etc. Likely short term but nice to see.

Results: much higher ROI than expected. Well worth doing.

Overall Results: I am quite pleased with the outcome of my little experiment.



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