Monday, January 23, 2012

Jumpstarting Your Media Business in Tough Economic Times

Many media companies are struggling to grow their businesses and maximize revenue in today’s tough economic environment. This past November, I was asked to present the Praetorian story at the InfoCommerce InfoData 2011 Conference in Philadelphia. My objective was to outline lessons from our experience in the public safety market that other companies might use to jumpstart their businesses. Core to my presentation was our experience launching our grant assistance business which has connected 100s of police and fire departments with millions of dollars in federal, state and foundation grant funding to purchase equipment. The case study serves as an instructive example of how to use an online business model combining content, community and data to solve business problems. 

On a side note, I'd like to extend a special thanks to the InfoCommerce team for a great conference and the opportunity to present. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to measure marketing ROI on Facebook and why you shouldn’t get too excited about your fan count

Most of the companies we talk to focus exclusively on how many fans they have on their Facebook page when measuring social media success. But the ‘like’ has always been a crude and limited metric in evaluating overall effectiveness, and we’ve long questioned the value of a Facebook fan and asking how companies should measure ROI.

Ever since the EdgeRank algorithm was introduced, the number of fans a page has acquired has become secondary to how engaged their fan base actually is. After all, what would you rather have – 1 million fans who don’t care about your product, or 100 fans who are advocates and lifelong customers? Top brands are taking notice and if your company is spending time on social media marketing, you should as well.

In addition, last month, Facebook published a new insights platform that should make all brands sit up and take notice. One aspect of the platform is a new metric called ‘People Talking About This’. This number is displayed below the fan count on a Facebook fan page, and should now be considered as the go-to metric for how to value a fan page and measure ROI and engagement.

What’s significant about this metric is that it is completely public – which means there’s no place for poorly performing pages to hide regardless of the number of likes they’ve amassed. The reality is that only a small percentage of fans actually see a page’s content, so using the fan count as a measure of a page’s value is misleading. With this new metric, you can see (as can your competitors, clients and the entire online community) how many people are actually engaging with your brand on Facebook.

So what does ‘People Talking About This’ actually mean?
Unlike many other social media metrics, this metric is calculated based not on the page’s content, but how users interact with it and how often. Over a rolling 7 day period, likes, shares, comments, wall posts, mentions, new fans and check-ins all factor into this calculation. Put simply, it identifies quality over quantity. It rightly implies that it’s not about how many fans you have or how much content you post, but about how many people think your page (and your brand) is worth listening to and engaging with.

Rise Interactive states that the new metric is “one singular rating intended to tell users how compelling and interesting a page’s content is” – and they are spot on in this assessment. So next time you’re looking at a Facebook fan page - whether it be your own, a competitor’s or a potential client’s - look past how many people “like this”, and instead focus on how many people are “talking about this”. That’s the number that provides transparency and validity into the power and value of a Facebook fan page. Bottom line: It’s time to stop measuring your Facebook by likes and get serious about engagement. Taking note of the ‘talking about’ metric is a great place to start.

Here's a related article from Mashable that expands on this subject : 3 Metrics that Will Change the Way You Market on Facebook