Tag Archives: Sponsored Stories

Who owns your Facebook Fans?

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Many companies, and most all Engage121 clients, have invested lots of creativity, money and time building a Facebook fan base. And, most of us would agree that our Facebook fans are a key marketing asset – just like our client lists or opt-in email lists.

But, who actually “owns” our Facebook fans?

A knee jerk reaction might be, “we do!” The argument might be that our company has expended resources to build a community possessing an affinity for our offering. We try to nurture that affinity through engaging content and offers and we have earned the right to access that community for our individual business purposes.

Well, the argument may be sound. But, the conclusion is probably incorrect. In fact, for most purposes, Facebook owns our fans and we merely rent access to them.

Remember: our fans are also Facebook’s users!

Ad Age recently reported , and we have discussed on this blog, that Facebook is implementing a tollgate controlling access by brands to its users – aka, our fans.

Facebook’s message to brands is clear: “Social at scale will not be free.”

OK, we get it. Not free. We have to pay to access our fans, but how much, and for how much access?

We have some numbers to consider:

“[Facebook’s] pitch is that just 16% of fans currently see organic content posted by brands: Most of it is weeded out by Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, designed to enhance users’ experience by putting only the most relevant content in their news feeds. Using the paid ad tool could increase a brand’s exposure percentage to as high as 75%.”

So, if you want content to reach just 6 of every 100 of your Facebook fans, continue posting – a lot – and eventually you will reach all your fans. Not consistently. And, certainly not the message you want, when you want.

To extend our reach to all fans – and Facebook suggests that “all” means about 75% – we need to recognize that it is Facebook that controls access to its users. Er, our fans. So, we need to pay a toll. And, as I have said before, depending on the toll, I think that is fair to both Facebook and brands.

But, that begs the question – how much is the toll? Our answer: very reasonable.

A couple of weeks ago we announced several enhancements to our application. We posted the announcement on Facebook and established a “Sponsored Story” promotion budget of $5.00 per day. That, we figure was probably in in the budget of most every Engage121 client!

Our results were impressive. Typically our posts have a reach of about 200. Our sponsored post ad had a reach of 422,847, and, over the past month, has received 75 clicks at a cost of $56.07.

Our bottom line is that Facebook has changed its business model, and if we are to use Facebook effectively, we need to change our practices. We recommend that all posts to Facebook should be promoted as Sponsored Stories, even at a minimal budget. Otherwise, we will be reaching only a small fraction of our intended audience. And, that makes no sense.

Our fans are Facebook’s users. We don’t have exclusive ownership of our fans any more than Facebook owns our client lists.

We need to adjust our practices to reflect Facebook’s new reality.




3 Steps to Increase Engagement on Facebook

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Facebook Fan Page + Facebook Post + Facebook Ad

This week’s International Franchise Association Annual Convention included several opportunities to learn about localizing social marketing from new IFA member Facebook and its representative Brian Wheelis, Manager of Agency Management Operations.

Brian shared valuable data including new research on where consumers are spending their time on Facebook. The good news is that they are spending more and more time on Facebook. The bad news is that they may not be spending their time on Facebook with your brand. We can fix that in 3 easy steps…

1. Create Engaging Content on Your Fan Page

Many brands’ Fan Pages consist of a slick picture and a blatant advertisement. Why would anyone return to this page after his or her first visit? Very few brands will garner millions of fans due only to loyalty and without having anything interesting on their page. These include Apple, Starbucks, and … I think that’s all.

Your page must include something of value to a consumer: coupons, freebies, rewards, virtual gifts, or downloadable digital content.

Value can also be in the form of assets or tools like informational (or fun!) videos, financial calculators, “ask an expert” type features, polls, quizzes, contests, and games. Remember, it must be valuable for the consumer and potential customer, not just for your brand.

All of the above must be refreshed frequently with new reasons for the consumer to come back. Each time something new is created on your page, you must do step 2: create a post.

2. Publish a Post About Your Page’s Content

You can build the most engaging, fun, or valuable Fan Page on Facebook, but if no one knows about it, they won’t come. Facebook currently has over 800 Million users, but I’m guessing most of them are not looking at your Fan Page right now! Well-executed posts will drive some of them there.

Users spend 27% of their time on Facebook looking at their News Feed. And, with the proliferation of smart phones, most mobile users are looking at the News Feed exclusively. So on a regular basis, post a status update inviting everyone to come play your game, take your quiz, or get the new coupon. This is the quickest, easiest thing to do in all of social media! Write a little text, add a link to the tab on your Fan Page where the feature lives, and submit.

Your update will be seen by your fans on their News Feed and Ticker. Next, we move beyond your fans with step 3: create an ad.

3. Create a Facebook Sponsored Story About With The Post

The Facebook Ad, or more specifically, the Sponsored Story, is the spark that will ignite the inferno on your page.  Facebook’s Brian Wheelis says that these ads will be seen by 3 to 5 times more Facebook users than the post alone.

Why? Facebook Sponsored Stories appear not only to your fans, but also to their friends.

That’s the key! Too many brands focus only on the number of fans they have accumulated. That number is important, but the goldmine is in those Fans’ Friends.

Our team has recently launched Engage121 Version 2.1, which now includes the ability to instantly create a Facebook Ad out of your status update. More importantly, you can also instantly create multiple localized ads for each of your franchisees’ or outlets’ local pages.

A marketing misstep is spending too many resources on converting customers to fans. If that sounds backwards, it’s because it is! Yet we see it everyday: print displays or customer service messages asking current customers to become a Fan. I supposed that has had value, as you do want your customers to be a part of the community. But don’t stop there; the people seeing those “please Like us” messages are already in your store, visiting your website, or receiving your invoice! Don’t market Social Media to them; market your business to new people using Social Media. Using the above 3 steps will refocus your attention to converting Fans (and their Friends!) to customers!

Fan Pages:   Seen by your Fans
Posts:   Seen by your Fans in their newsfeed
Sponsored Stories:   Seen by your Fans and their Friends


Jack Monson, Vice President at Engage121