Is there any value in, or role for the corporate Facebook page? They have long since become a defacto requirement but now for what purpose? With the organic reach offered by Facebook in its infancy, they were valuable purveyors of information but now with the majority of messages reaching people through paid targeted posts delivered in a timely manner to carefully selected and created audiences the rationale is harder to fathom.
For sure, the current status quo is far closer to the way marketing want it. Second-guessing the Edgerank algorithm was far to much hit and miss. Having said that few companies are willing to shut the Facebook page or cease posting on its public news feed. Some have tried, State Farm shut its State Farm Nation (millennials) page with 1.4 million followers and Liberty Mutual neglected to post for almost a year but the corporate Facebook page lives on.
Some companies now regard the public news feed as more for providing information to “friends and family.” For example, Central Insurance employees are responsible for over 70% of the Facebook interactions. Other companies post information solely in the hope that business partners hit the share button and pass content along to their own customers. This is certainly the case with insurance carriers that promote and sell policies through local agencies. Most agencies don’t have the time, staff or inclination to develop a constant stream of social content and happy to piggy-back on carriers. Of the Facebook post interactions for Shelter Insurance, 72% come as a post share almost exclusively courtesy of its 2500 local agents.
So what role or purpose does the Facebook news feed play in your firm? Will anyone see information without an ad boost and does anyone visit the page? Organic (free) reach still exists to a small degree but between those with a tight connection. After all, you probably see your own family posts and none of those get paid boosts. Companies need a public news feed built around a social calendars but who do you reach and what story do you want to tell or what critically what story do they want to hear?
Social Analytics is a burgeoning field but largely focused on the big money available from marketers who have big budgets to boost posts, a need to measure share of voice and sentiment for the monthly Executive Report.
Public news feed metrics are now the poor cousin of the social media world. Increasingly demand is growing for comparative news-feed audits. Who is doing what and why? Are we spending too much or too little, are the posts reaching anyone?
Copying competitors is not usually the best or even a good strategy but if their approach is better aligned with business objectives there are lessons to be learned. At the very least, it drives the much needed discussion – What is the value or role of our corporate Facebook page?