To GM: Why You Shouldn't Abandon Facebook

Subject: To GM: Why You Shouldn't Abandon Facebook
From: GM Employee
Date: 14 Oct 2012
General Motors Logo

Dear General Motors,

We applaud you for not fully abandoning your current marketing with Facebook, even in the wake of what you have deemed an infective’ advertising campaign. As a public service to you and other brands evaluating their Facebook strategy, we would like to offer some informal counsel on how to improve the overall experience.

For brands, Facebook’s potential extends well beyond its paid advertising program. GM and other brands must fully understand what it means to be “social” to the consumer, and how to leverage this opportunity to engage customers at their level, where it matters most.

Being social is about engaging with fans and loyal customers with updates, responding to their requests and discussing relevant content with them. It’s about being there for your customers, when and where THEY are, and weaving your brand effortlessly into the fabric of their social sphere. In many ways, it’s not entirely unlike a bricks-and-mortar store: the right location is critical to attracting customers. With this move away from Facebook advertising, it appears GM may have just chosen a location very far away from customers, making it difficult for them to engage.

While GM’s upward Facebook fan growth should be celebrated, it’s vital to understand that Facebook brand success is less about the number of fans clocked and much more about the actual engagement. Ask yourself, “How engaged is your target audience?” Measuring this effectively requires the right tools to capture this engagement, not just the number of fans, click-thrus and other traditional metrics.

Here are some recommendations to boost engagement and get the most out of the Facebook opportunity:

GM is creating posts during the typical ‘work-week’, which is completely understandable. However, the data shows the majority of fans are liking the fan page or becoming new fans on Sundays. Consider a strategy that includes posting new Sunday content or sometime over the weekend, in addition to your weekday posts. In the last 4 Sundays alone, 2,034 people became General Motors fans. Compare that to the number of people who became fans on Thursday (with the least amount of new fans) and you’ll notice a whopping 36% increase on Sunday.

Engagement rate is important as it measures how active your fan base is and how often they are actively liking, commenting and sharing your content. These actions – however small they may appear – are key to understanding the overall Facebook marketing ROI. Over the past 30 days, GM’s engagement rate has been trending downward by 25%. Engaging your audience when they are most active will drive higher engagement rates. For GM specifically, it appears 9:00am to 10:00am ET had the highest engagement rate at 0.24%. This would be the ideal time to target your audience with strong content.

Finally, if GM wants to use its social media to increase ROI, we recommend having your team respond to questions from fans that appear on GM’s wall. In the past 30 days, GM responded to only 27% of questions from fans. The average response time was 4 hours and 6 minutes – which is, unfortunately, remarkably slow in the fast-paced world of social media.

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