Brands ride the tide of the Facebook phenomenon
Facebook's 'brand pages' are as popular as ever. Just 10 days after Facebook launched its new timeline profile in February 2012, the brand pages of 8 million companies switched to its new web page format. Companies are amassing thousands and sometimes millions of 'fans' on their Facebook pages, using such strategies as news and updates, special offers and exclusive promotions.
With its new advertising initiative mostly aimed at big, well-known brands, Facebook is putting in extra effort to endear itself to businesses and big brands. It's hoping to boost revenue as it prepares for an initial public offering that could value the company at a staggering $100 billion.
CLSA Markets Analyst James Lee wrote that Facebook's phenomenal user base and the amount of time spent on the site represents a major opportunity for advertisers to spread the message of their brand to global audience.
It's certainly a great opportunity, but one that does entail risk. However, a recent poll suggests that Australians are picky about which brands they endorse. Brands need to work hard at not just winning new fans, but also keeping the favour of their current Facebook audience. The dreaded 'unlike' button can do serious damage to a company's reputation, undermining the entire point of its advertising initiative.
So what makes users like or dislike a brand page? The poll suggests that updates are the most important factor. 19% of Australian respondents felt that regular updates create the impression that a Brand is dynamic and exciting- presumably as long as the update really is interesting and newsworthy.
The second most popular reason for liking a brand page, getting 16% of the Aussie vote, is the prospect of entering prize draws and competitions.
In third place was good old fashioned friend endorsement, with 9% of respondents reporting that a friend 'liking' a page would make them 'like' it too. Companies must be itching for a high tally of green 'thumbs up', since positive consumer opinion breeds more good opinion, which could potential spread like wildfire across the social network.
On the contrary, companies must dread getting 'unlikes'. According to the recent poll, the most popular reasons Australians give for disliking a brand page is that the information listed is boring. Uninteresting content will soon be skimmed over on a website bursting with fascinating morsels of gossip.
Interestingly, the second most common reason, selected by 17% of respondents, was that the brand posts too many updates. Given that interesting updates are one of the main reasons respondents like a brand page, it seems that companies have a very fine balancing act to perform. The third most popular reason for 'unliking' a brand page was that the page somehow changed the respondent's views/ opinions of the brand- presumably for the worse. So, as reward surveys reveal, companies have to be very careful to consider the image they already hold in their audience's mind.