Your ears must be burning…

Marketing/Advertising October 12, 2011 5:25 pm

Because everyone is talking about you on Facebook!

(Go ahead and roll your eyes, but man, I love puns)

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the new ‘People Talking About Metric’ Facebook introduced last week:

The “people are talking about this” number is pulled from a variety of interactions that can occur on Facebook over the past seven days.

The different interactions that make up the “people talking about this” metric are any stories (formerly “posts”) that users share in their timeline. This includes liking a Page, posting to a Page’s Wall, liking, commenting on or sharing a Page post (or other content on a page, like photos, videos or albums), answering a Question posted, RSVPing to an event, mentioning a Page in a post, phototagging a Page, liking or sharing a check-in deal, or checking in at a Place. (Demystifying Facebook’s ‘People Are Talking About This’ Metric)

What does the new metric mean for brands? First, take a look at the top 50 brands measured by fan count (via Famecount).  I ‘reranked’ the brands to show their new rank based on the ‘People Talking About’ metric.

And it’s pretty obvious… the rankings change dramatically.

Look at Buffalo Wild Wings- ranked 50th in fan count but 18th in ‘people talking about’ rank.  And conversely, look at Ferrero Rocher- ranked 12th in fan count but 46th in ‘people talking about’ rank.

I think the new ‘people talking about’ metric speaks to the value the brand is getting from Facebook- ‘liking’ a brand and racking up an impressive fan count is one thing- but what good are ‘fans’ if they aren’t interacting with your brand and you aren’t interacting with them?

The new ‘people talking about’ metric changes how brands look at fans– from the previous passive metric (how many fans ‘liked’ a brand is a passive action, a fan does it once) to an active metric- measuring continuous interaction fans have with the brand.

Take Ferrero Rocher- impressive fan count rank, but a not so impressive ‘people talking about’ rank.  I took a look at the brand’s FB page– there have been ZERO updates from the brand itself since May 7, 2011.  ZERO.  Fans are engaged- the most recent posts are only hours from when I checked.

But Ferrero Rocher is missing a big opportunity to connect with fans by not participating in the conversation.  These are the fans that love the brand! These are the fans that even without months of prompting, still talk about Ferrero Rocher! (and I don’t know about you, but Ferrero Rocher is a mouthful- I’d probably just say I was eating chocolate) Ferrero Rocher is wasting their impressive fan count on Facebook.

But look at Buffalo Wild Wings- the brand posts to their FB wall at least twice a day (even on weekends!) and have two promotions geared towards fans- the 5 million fan ‘etch your name in history’ promotion- a thank you to fans who pushed them over the 5 million fan count and a promotion with Coke Zero for fans to win prizes.

Buffalo Wild Wings’ fan count is less than 1/2 of Ferrero Rocher’s fan count– so before the ‘people talking about metric,’ Ferrero Rocher would have looked much ‘better’ based on just fan count.  But now that continuous interaction and engagement is factored into the equation, Buffalo Wild Wings comes out on top.

The ‘people talking about’ metric is flawed, to be sure- it’s a lot easier to say ‘I’m going to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings’ than ‘I love eating Ferrero Rocher’- but I think the metric is a big step in the neverending quest to figuring out the value of Facebook to a brand.

But one thing’s for sure- what’s the point of a brand being on Facebook and racking up ‘fans’ if they aren’t going to do anything with them?  It’s hard enough to find an audience that likes your brand– but on Facebook these fans are already self-identified.

If a brand can’t spend the time and energy to capitalize on these people who have already told them they LIKE them, they should question if there is even an added value to being on Facebook in the first place.

**Data sources: Famecount and Facebook; information pulled on 10/10/11– remember, in the fast-paced social media world, fan counts and now ‘people talking about’ are constantly changing! Don’t hold fast to the numbers above, as they’ve surely changed now- just use as a general illustration as the difference between fan count rank and ‘people talking about’ rank.

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