Relevancy: Knowing Your Audience on Facebook

Often understanding what is interesting and relevant is best found by asking customers directly. Too many PR, marketing and advertising firms think they know better. They don’t take the time to do the account planning or research to really understand their audience, their behaviors, their motivations and drivers, let alone for traditional campaigns but even less so for social media. If a brand does not listen and understand their online audience, the results can be devastating. That doesn’t mean a brand should not enter into the social media realm. It means they need to go back to school and understand the differences between online and offline customer interactions and the viral nature of a scorned customer as well as what drives customers to interact and buy from a brand.
Brands need to make sure they have someone on staff who understands how to do primary audience research in both social media and traditional methods. There are qualitative and quantitative methods of traditional account planning and audience research which include:
  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews
  • Polls
  • Surveys, both on and off line
  • Ethnography/netnography (observations off- and on-line of the audience behaviors)
Social media monitoring tools like Radian6, Sysomos, Tracckr, etc… lend themselves to account planning and audience research, especially for:
  • Primary Research (research conducted by the brand itself)
  • Sentiment and share of voice online
  • Identification of the top influencers, ambassadors, customers, brand naysayers and press
  • Polls, surveys, and netnography
  • Topics influencers and ambassadors are discussing about the brand
  • Customer issues, questions, suggestions and praise for the product, service and the brand
  • Secondary Research (research conducted by other people than the brand)
  • Studies other research groups or institutions have produced on the brand or product category that the brand falls into (consumer products, automotive…) and the customers associated with those groups.
In addition, conversations within online communities- either owned by the brand or third party communities, can reveal very interesting insights for the brand. In particular interest to this book on f-commerce is the use of community applications within Facebook. An example of a community application used within Facebook is’s Facebook Solution.
Because the Wall in Facebook changes so quickly, brands end up answering the same questions over and over. The Get Satisfaction Facebook widget allows brands to not only avoid spending time repeating the same answers on the Wall (because questions and answers can be searched on and retrieved), but instead can focus on creating relevant content and interactions that engage customers to participate and make that brand part of their lifestream.
It’s important creating interactions with your customers are. Facebook is not a website. It’s a social network where people socialize with each other and with brands. It’s not a broadcast medium where a brand can send out marketing messages. It’s a medium where customers go exclusively to interact with each other and with brands. If a brand is posting on Facebook and there are not any customer interactions, then the brand IS NOT DOING SOCIAL MEDIA. Being on a social networking site is not “doing social media.” Social media is being on a social network and having conversations and interactions with your customers on that social network.
Most social media monitoring tools can only provide Facebook data that is on public pages. Because of the partnership between vendors, for example GoodData and Get Satisfaction, the brand can obtain intimate knowledge of the conversations on their Facebook pages between the brand and its customers. And, if the brand has included the Get Satisfaction widget on their website or other communities, that data can also be aggregated to the Facebook data to have a full picture of social customer interactions across the Internet. This is important data because savvy brands use both their websites and Facebook stores to drive e-commerce. We will show examples later in the book on how brands do this in various scenarios.
If a brand doesn’t take the steps to understand their audience, there is no guarantee that the social shopping experience will yield good business results. Why guess, when you can know?
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