If we're not on it, we're talking about it.
If it was a country, it would be bigger than China. From acquiring WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger to driving growth through mobile advertising, Facebook has the broadest audience reach, easily outstripping its competitors when it comes to targeting, reporting and influencing consumer behaviour...so it's about time your brand marketing teams were all over it (if they're not already).
Now with 2.01 billion users, up from 1.94bn in the first quarter of 2017, the social media giant is still the place for brands to be seen – perhaps more than ever. Facebook has even climbed the ranks to break into Interbrand’s top 10 Best Global Brands for the first time. It’s the most downloaded social media app, silencing threats from its main rival, the social platform Twitter.
And it’s only going to continue this way.
Yet dwell time is reported as decreasing, so instant consumer engagement isn’t a guarantee for marketers planning campaigns around Mark Zuckerberg’s brain child.
Successful brand marketing and getting into the mind of the savvy consumer presents marketers with tough choices to make – namely how they can make sure their promotional message is reaching the intended target audience. If you’re an avid user, you’ll realise that this could be harder than running a marathon in a rhino suit. But it doesn’t have to be.
Leading the way in emerging trends is the rise of the Facebook competition.
But if everyone else is getting in on the act, how can you ensure your brand is heard when people are looking at the platform in shorter bursts than ever before? It’s not an easy proposition, so a well thought out social media strategy is essential.
To ensure your next promotion ignites interest from the right people, we take a closer look at this year’s trends and those set to impact the industry in 2017.
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The first thing you need to do is understand what consumers think about your brand and marketing promotions.
‘The Savvy Cynics 2: Consumer Promotions - What Shoppers Think in 2017’ report by Sodexo reveals that competition marketing is a great way for brands to take advantage of Facebook’s massive consumer reach. The overall study found that shoppers are now ‘socially savvy cynics’, increasingly using social media to engage with brands in competitions and promotions. Get it right and a brand stands to make huge gains.
Brands that understand which platforms their audiences are hanging out on, and how people interact in that space, can push competitors into the shade and keep pace with the digital revolution.
Getting ahead of the competition is crucial – wait, did we say competition? More about that in a minute...
Facebook. is it working for your business?
So how is Facebook working for your business? And what are the opportunities for brand marketers to successfully get in front of its two billion users?
You’ve got a business page. Well done. Sadly, you’re not alone.
Right now, Facebook boasts over 60 million businesses with a page on their site.
Of those, 4 million businesses are advertising with the site. If a consumer seeks your page out, that’s great.
But what if they’re not? Over 40% of Facebook users have never even liked a page before, so it’s time to get with the shareability programme.
Spreading the word
If Facebook is the mother of social media, word of mouth marketing is its child. And we’re totally past the nappy stage.
In the last year alone, the platforms preferred by different age groups has shifted so it’s getting harder to tell who wants what and when.
In 2017, Facebook was the most popular social media network for sharing news of competitions and promotions among 35-44 year olds (31.03%), but last year it was 25-34 year olds who most commonly shared on Facebook.
Create the share factor and you drive consumer engagement with your brand. Set up a prize draw and you stand to attract new customers, better engage with your existing audience, collect valuable consumer data and even empower your customers to do your marketing for you.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
You can bet your bottom dollar that engagement with attractive brand competitions and promotions will continue to grow in the Facebook sphere if our research is anything to go by. So, if you haven’t got promotional content nailed yet, it’s time to ask what you could be doing better.
The rise of the facebook competition
The key finding from Sodexo’s research was the rise of Facebook as an increasingly popular way of entering competitions.
In 2016, 26.9% of respondents to our consumer survey said they use Facebook to enter competitions promoted by a brand either ‘very often’ or ‘sometimes’. In 2017, that figure rose to over 37%, a rise of over 10%.
If your target audience is female, Facebook should be your brand marketing team's new best friend.
Women are driving the trend towards entering competitions on social media. Just over 40% of women asked said they enter competitions promoted by a brand through Facebook – an increase of over 12% from 2016.
This shift has been helped by the fact that people don’t mind seeing competitions on Facebook as much – last year 20.05% claimed that they found them ‘annoying and intrusive’, but this dropped to 16.89% this year.
It's great to see an increase in Facebook usage for promotions, but are you delivering what your consumers are after? And what is that?
Discover what appeals to consumers with our free consumer insights report, which is yours to keep by clicking the button below...
Measuring facebook returns
Getting your competition in front of fresh audiences is easy with Facebook’s highly targeted advertising offering.
You can reach consumers by up to 16 different criteria, including age, location, education, work place, hobbies, gender, relationship status, connections with other pages they admin – if you can think it, Facebook are on to it.
However, Jane Frost, CEO of the Market Research Society (MRS), cautions brands to avoid the ‘echo chamber’.
For small start-up brands, particularly in digital, she says the core idea tends to be “based around their own usage habits”. She cites the problem of social media. It may have massive reach but, she warns, does it reach the people you need to?
“Social media is only a small part of the whole. There is a certain type of person who is active on social media and a whole range of people who are not. If you’re after a particular target market, or one with specialist knowledge or high net worth, you may well find they’re not in the digital channel at all,” Frost explains.
If you’re confident that audience reach will be achieved however, your next stop is content.
And content is king, as they say.
Think content: offers, incentives and ideas
Good social marketers know that it’s not enough just to pull followers in: the content on business pages has to be engaging – leave your fan base hanging and you’ll soon be wondering where they all went. All that hard-spent marketing budget and you’ll be back to square one in a jiffy.
No interaction means no brand engagement. Full stop.
If you have a good offer or discount code on your page to draw followers in, you can convert new fans to customers there and then. We don’t need to tell you how building brand awareness and trust go hand in hand, but badly worded communications are a massive ‘no-no’, as the National Lottery discovered with their ill-fated British Athletics campaign. It was a non-runner – and an expensive one at that.
Consumers are far more likely to receive news of a promotion or competition entry with open arms. You’re not asking them to do anything that puts them out or fills their already busy day with barriers. You’re simply offering a chance for them to have a better day. And why wouldn’t anyone like that?
Where next for facebook?
Facebook will survive any politically charged accusations and moral eye-balling from the establishment.
Whatever mud is thrown, we predict the social media giant will shrug it off as quickly as it takes for Elon Musk to devise his next invention.
Mark Zuckerberg has long contended it is merely a ‘social platform’ for good or for ill.
Yet behind the scenes, they’re hardly resting on their social laurels. Facebook is fixated on the future of video, building upon its livestreaming service, Facebook Live.
In 2017, it announced the launch of Watch, a platform that will host regular TV shows.
The future is TV and we fully expect it to take on the likes of Netflix, Amazon TV and YouTube. More so, this new platform will let users chat about shows they’ve watched with friends and strangers – another poke in the eye for Twitter. We can’t wait to see where that goes.
As Facebook's VP of Growth Javier Olivan told Wired.co.uk (yes, they have a VP for growth!):
“There are two billion people using the product. There are seven billion people in the world, so we still have many more people to connect. Video is a natural evolution in the format – from text and photos, video is obviously the next medium, then you can keep going forward to virtual reality – things like that where we’re already investing,” says Olivan.
There’s also speculation Facebook will bid for Premier League football streaming rights this year. In fact, Facebook is getting 8 billion average daily video views*. If a brand isn’t investigating video content now, the chances are its competitors are. You’ve literally got to be in it to see it.
A valuable commodity
There’s no denying that Facebook has gone mainstream.
If people are using it as the new Google – don’t mention Donald Trump and fake news – then it stands to reason that marketers needs to be all over every like, click and share. By adding a promotional incentive into the mix in the form of promotional marketing and competitions, you can turn these clicks into a valuable commodity.
Our research tells us more people than ever before are winning brand competitions – nearly a quarter of respondents told of their success in 2016. In 2017, this has given even greater cause for celebration, with happy winners more than doubling from 20% to 43%.
Consumers are used to seeing both promotions and brand marketing campaigns and are ready and willing to get involved.The rest is up to you.
Ready to go deeper into the psyche of the UK's savviest cynics, including more great stats on how companies are increasing their use of platforms like Facebook?
We thought so. Then click below and read on...