A ‘Like’ By Fans Is No Longer Enough!

When we talk about a brand’s goals on Facebook, the most common answer is that getting this number or likes or that number of fans, but is it really what brands should aim for in social media? The actual goal of a certain campaign should be to create a fan base which would lead to something more concrete like selling a certain number of products. In this context it is good to understand what kind of fans would lead you to this goal and design your strategy accordingly.

Should a brand try to convert all its customers to fans?

According to recent data collected from top 40 brand pages, engagement rate of a brand can vary between 0,86%- 2,44%. Therefore, it is good to realize that it is not the number of fans that is important but actually how many of them are interacting with the brand. So, it matters that we acquire the number which we can actually engage and who are willing to get engaged with us.

To tackle this and cut short the race to the maximum number of fans Facebook has rung a wake up bell in form of a new metric called “People talking about”. This would specify the number of users interacting with the brand’s posts. The number can be seen on the brand pages below the number of likes on the left hand side of the page.

What does it measure?

This figure gives the number of people who have created a story from the brand’s post. These stories may include sharing, liking or commenting on the post, which could also be in form of an answer to a question or response to an event invite. The metric would record the activity within the last 7 days and can also be seen by page administrators in “Page Insights”.

What does it mean to the brand?

This is one metric which is available to the fans of the page and the friends of the fans to see, apart from the number of “Likes” on the page. With this metric, Facebook users get to see how engaging the content on the page is.

This metric can also be used by page admins to see their engagement rates and measure it against their competitor’s and see how they are performing.

Here is a list of top 40 brand pages and their engagement rate varies. It is interesting to note the number of fans they have and how many of them are actually engaging with the brand:

Top 40 brands on Facebook 

 

 

 

 

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Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.