There is a very real challenge
for brands when it comes to developing a social outreach strategy across
Facebook. What is the right way to go about it? Is the objective to continually
grow acquisition or is to engage the existing audience? These are questions
that many brand marketers are continually asking as they seek to develop their
social media strategies, and unsurprisingly, the most common answer seems to be
both; continued acquisition but with ever increasing engagement rates.
Naturally, an ever growing but
increasingly engaged audience is the nirvana. However, setting the objective
and achieving it are very different things and it is a strategy that requires a
significant amount of balance, for a number of reasons.
With the introduction of the
Facebook Edgerank algorithm, which effectively rewards brands that offer
relevant and engaging content to their audiences, clearly there is a
requirement for posts and status updates to drive as high engagement rates as
possible (Edgerank assesses the relevance of posts by the number of responses
and interactions it drives amongst the audience; if the audience is not
responding to brand posts, those posts will gradually be filtered out of
audience news feeds, effectively reducing the real audience size). The greater the interaction and engagement,
the greater the real audience.
As a result, there is an argument
for brands to focus on their crown jewels;
the posts that continually produce the highest amount of engagement. However,
whilst that strategy will seek to ensure that core fans continue to receive the
content that they want or like, and brands can offset the potential for
Edgerank to turn fans off, if brands are not providing varied content, they
risk not engaging with anything but the core fans, and if one of the objectives
is to continue to grow their audience base, this will have an impact.
It is therefore a question of
balance between high engagement posts that appeal to the core audience, as well
as varied, more general posts, that are designed to appeal to the wider fan
base and convert those fans to become core contributors.
There is no magic wand in social
media. It is a question of testing what works and what doesnt work so well,
added to a meticulous level of analysis and the flexibility to adapt to the
findings. There is no perfect recipe for how many posts should be issued that
are categorised as appealing to the core fans and how many are varied to attract
a more general audience. Its a balancing act, but a necessary balancing act if
the objectives are to continue to increase engagement in addition to