It goes without saying that social media, and more specifically Facebook, need to be part of a corporate branding strategy. But a new study conducted by a U.S. West Coast ad agency named WongDoody demonstrates that the leading global brands could improve their Facebook usage.
The WongDoody Facebook Global Practices Study evaluated the Facebook activity of the top 100 brands, as determined by Interbrand's Best Global Brands 2010 rankings. Interestingly, sixteen of Interbrand's 2010 best global brands don't even have an official corporate-run Facebook page.
Poring over the remaining 84 brand pages for the 2010 Best Global Brands, the study analyzed over 60,000 wall posts, nearly 13,000 comments, and over 119,000 "Likes" to see how companies are utilizing Facebook. The results indicated a world of missed opportunities.
The average number of fans across the 84 pages amounted to 1,807,360. The average number of corporate posts per month was 24, suggesting that most of the companies post on their wall almost every day. Seventy-nine percent of the 2010 BGB official FB pages also allow fans to post on their wall, but only two out of three of the brands reply to fan wall posts and comments consistently.
Fans seem to be engaged with the brands — the average number of fan posts per month is 857, the average number of comments per post is 157, and the average number of "Likes" per post is 1,456.
However, brands could do a better job in terms of content and involvement techniques. For example, video content is the most common post, with 88% of the brands posting videos on their Facebook pages. While there's nothing wrong with using video, the videos are, for the most part, television commercials. As WongDoody points out, "a Facebook page is no place for a hard sell" and "unique content is most motivating for fans to join your community."
Only 66% of the brands actively reply to fan posts or comments, even though 82% of them solicit fan stories and comments. That means fully a third of the corporate Facebook users are missing an opportunity to create a dialog with their constituents. It appears that the top brands aren't all that creative with their Facebook usage, either: Less than 40% post surveys or polls, and only one third of the brands use Facebook to promote contests.
Again, these are opportunities missed. According to WongDoody, "Facebook is a social ecosystem designed for interaction. ... The marketing challenge lies not in convincing users to Like your page, which takes only a cursory click, but to make sure your page is not forgotten as just one more link on a fan's Info page."
Clearly, even the world's leading global brands can do a better job of employing social media. In fact, A.T. Kearney also combed through the 2010 Best Global Brands and came to a similar conclusion.
At a time when social media helps to set brands apart, every brand owner should be formulating a Facebook strategy and sustaining a two-way conversation.