By Janice Smithers
(eM+C)—During a recent webinar from Covario, over 100 digital marketers were asked what the main goal of their Facebook page is. The results aren’t surprising. In general, driving sales is the No. 1 priority of digital marketers’ social media programs. However, 45 percent of the respondents said driving engagement and brand awareness is their top priority.
This is important because as much as we’d like to be able to benchmark advertisers based on their ability to drive sales via Facebook, that data typically isn’t available to the public. Therefore, competitive benchmarking must be done on advertisers’ behalf to drive soft metrics like fans and engagement relative to their overall brand presentation on Facebook.
Covario recently benchmarked the top 100 advertisers (using the latest Advertising Age ranking of total ad spend) based on a series of factors to measure their Facebook presence, also known as Facebook presence score (FPS).
Coca-Cola ranked No. 1 on the weighted model at the core of the study. The model looked at the advertiser’s reach (i.e., number and growth of followers), engagement (i.e., monthly posts, likes, comments and applications), technical construction (i.e., brand name usage, link to a brand website, use of the word “official,” etc.) and reputation (i.e., particularly negative user sites found when conducting Facebook searches for a brand).
FPS scores ranged from 0 (worst) to 100 (best). Coca-Cola won with an overall score of 100, two points higher than second-place finisher Hyundai. Rounding out the top five brands were MTV (Viacom), Disney and Bayer.
Within a brand’s overall FPS, reach is the most highly weighted factor at 40 percent. Engagement is next at 30 percent, followed by technical considerations (20 percent) and reputational factors (10 percent).
It’s not surprising that Coca-Cola topped the list. It has a huge Facebook fan following of more than 34 million. That’s combined with a solid engagement strategy, which includes offering enthusiasts more than 25 different apps to enjoy as well as biweekly posts that are garnering an average of 236 comments and 1,749 likes each. Plus, Coca-Cola’s Facebook page is technically optimized and there are no negative pages showing up in search results for the brand.
The top engagement score was earned by Wal-Mart. While the popular retailer has only 25 percent of the reach of Coke, it’s really engaged its fans. Wal-Mart receives an average of 7,390 comments and 726 likes per post. That’s much higher than all other advertisers.
Of the bottom 10 ranking companies, eight are banks or financial services firms, which all had low engagement, reach and reputation scores. It makes sense. Banks and financial services companies haven’t engaged in social media as aggressively as other leading advertisers because of the regulatory nature of communications in that industry. It’s also not in their best interest to create a forum for customers to post negative comments.
Since any brand can create a Facebook page—encompassing enthusiasts and detractors alike—the key to success is how well it interacts with its fans.
Covario found that several advertisers have done a great job of building their fan base, but then do little to engage them after acquisition. At the same time, there are advertisers who do a great job with engagement but they have lower-than-expected reach. These are squandered branding opportunities.
Even though Facebook is a bit like the Wild West—anyone can ride into town and try to rustle a brand away—there’s still a great deal of brand equity you can control. Here are some tips to help your brand’s FPS:
• Post and comment frequently. Let your fans know you’re genuinely listening to them.
• Engage your enthusiasts. Develop relevant content for them to enjoy, such as apps, videos, contests and promotions.
• Let them know that it’s really you. Clearly designate your page as your brand’s official Facebook page to avoid any confusion with nonofficial pages.
• Post your rules of engagement. Use your page description to let fans know that you want them to treat other fans (and your brand) with respect.
• Optimize. To ensure that your page shows up in Facebook’s on-site search results, include your brand name in the URL, title and description of your page.
Janice Smithers is senior media strategist for analytical insight services at Covario.
For more information, visit www.covario.com.