Is Facebook the Right Place for Your Brand?

February 17, 2012

No one said Facebook wasn’t a popular online destination, especially since as of January 1, 2012, an estimated 845 million users were signed up for Facebook, worldwide. If 845 million people are in one spot, then as a brand I should be there as well, right? Not necessarily.

While Facebook is the Disney World of online sites, it may not be the best place to reach your consumers. Different people use the Internet differently and knowing where your target audience spends time online is the key to interacting with them during their daily routine. The more times you engage them in a variety of ways, the better your chance of mutual interaction which could lead to product purchase or brand loyalty.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Who is your target audience? Is it male or female? Are they teenagers, 30-somethings, or baby boomers? Demographics matter when determining whether your brand should be on Facebook.

Women dominate Facebook. While statistically, both men and women are almost even in the total number of Facebook users in the U.S. (54% vs. 44%), women post more frequently, spend more time on the site, and interact more with others.

Age is also an important factor to consider. 18 to 25 year olds are the largest number of Facebook users, netting out at 35% of total users. If you work for a brand that targets men over the age of 55, this becomes critical knowledge when planning your online advertising campaign, especially when only 7% of all Facebook users are between the ages of 55 and 64.

Knowing who is using Facebook is critical to your overall online advertising plan and ROI goals.

What Do Users Do While on Facebook?

Now, after you have gone through the process of determining who your audience is and how/if Facebook fits into your overall Online Strategy, what are the next steps?

ComScore research found that the largest portion of U.S. users’ time spent within Facebook is on the individual’s homepage, which features the newsfeed. In May 2011, it was determined Facebook users’ time was spent as follows:

  • 27% viewing their homepage and Newsfeed
  • 21% viewing profiles
  • 17% viewing photos
  • 10% using apps and tools[1]

How Can I Assure Facebook Users See/Interact with My Brand?

The answer is ensuring you appear in your Facebook fans’ Newsfeed. Facebook users live and die by their Newsfeed. The more often you can appear in your fans’ Newsfeed with engaging and interesting content, the better chance your brand has of being seen and benefiting from consumer engagement. Facebook employs an algorithm called EdgeRank, which determines the connections that are the most important to a user, and thus appears most frequently, along with which kinds of content should appear higher than others.

There are three main factors that make up the algorithm: Affinity, Edge Weight, and Recency.

  • Affinityis a score based on the proximity or how “friendly” you are with someone. This includes actions such as:
    • Looking at the brand profile recently
    • “Liking” content from the brand recently
    • Having descriptions in your personal profile that match the content
    • Edge Weightis a formula that assigns greater importance to certain types of content or actions.  The three types of content that have the highest Edge Weight are:
      • Photos
      • Videos
      • Links
      • Recency (also known as time decay) directly correlates to how “old” your content is. Content appears in users’ Newsfeeds in chronological order−with the newest updates at the top of the feed. Therefore, keeping your content fresh and posting updates at times when it is either most relevant or you know your target audience is using Facebook, is an important factor in creating your Editorial calendar.

Finally, content is King, Queen, President, and Prime Minister! Without content that is interesting, engaging, or informative to your target audience, there is no engine to drive your fans to interact with you or purchase your product/service offline. We all have a wealth of items and brands vying for our attention 24-7 these days, but the ones that intrigue us or provide us with information we need are the ones we pay attention to and keep going back to time and time again after our initial contact. With smart Facebook strategy, your brand can become the “go to” for your target audience.


[1] How Users Spend Time on Facebook

% of total engagement, September 2011

Source: comScore

Andrea Fuller is a member of Ketchum’s Online Strategy team where she works with a variety of clients to develop and implement cutting edge online strategies that are based on the latest trends and backed by a robust analytics. Ms. Fuller brings a diverse skill set to the team that includes, business development, content strategy, search engine optimization, website life cycle development and maintenance, as well as analytics implementation and assessment. Follow her on Twitter @andreamfuller1.