Now let's get one thing straight... Facebook is amazing. There, I said it.
Facebook accounts for over 55% of all social media traffic. It is unquestionably out on its own at no.1. Everybody else is just fighting it out for a distant 2nd place. So it's easy to see why marketing people today focus a lot of time and attention on facebook – it's compelling stuff.
But – and it's a big BUT - in social, reach isn't the whole story...
The facebook delusion
To demonstrate why let's take Coca Cola – a long standing client of DigitasLBi – which boasts an incredible 70 million fans. Even with this incredible fan base there is an inherent issue with scale.
When you factor in the average amount of fans that actually view a facebook post (12%) at a best-in-class engagement rate (1.4%) you actually reach approx. 140,000 of that original audience. When you consider that 1 billion people drink Coke every day, that's an engagement reach of 0.16% of your actual brand universe.
So even at the incredible levels of Coca Cola, we have an inherent issue with scale.
There is too much focus on creating fan bases in facebook. We blindly use the size of the fan base as a metric for success because it is an easy metric to focus on. It gives us a false delusion of scale and makes it impossible to attribute meaningful ROI to Social.
Orchestrating your Paid, Owned & Earned channels
Social owned communities, like facebook, are undoubtedly one part of the story but they are not the whole story. We need to ensure we are reaching and engaging our consumer beyond Social Media platforms.
The problem is that the media landscape is split into Paid, Owned and Earned channels. Brands typically work with different agencies in each; therefore treat them as silos with separate isolated strategies at the expense of a holistic view of our audience.
The reality is that the media landscape is becoming more and more complex. The lines between the Paid, Owned and Earned channels are becoming blurred and we need to engage our audiences wherever they are.
Creating meaningful engagements at scale
We need to stop thinking about Social as a platform and more as a behaviour. We should be aiming to drive Social actions and behaviours with our audience right across our Paid, Owned and Earned channels. By giving our passive advocates a strong call to action – one that has social resonance – we can turn them into social influencers.
What I am describing is to effectively drive scale by encouraging our audiences, wherever they may be, to discuss our brand on our behalf to their networks and communities. To do this we need to target individuals not platforms.
Driving social action via individuals
One of my favourite examples of this in action is from 2012's Olympics. Visa, a long standing DigitasLBi client, encouraged users to cheer for the athletes. This was driven via numerous social actions spanning across Paid, Owned and Earned channels.
This little and often approach focused on driving action through individuals - in whatever format they wished to do so – rather than funneling them to a single platform.
The result was that Visa owned the Olympic conversation with a third of all branded conversations during the Olympic period about Visa.