Maintaining a Facebook page and a Twitter handle with fresh,
relevant content is a no-brainer for any brand, and repurposing
that content for your Google+ page is a good hedge, because
activity on the platform could eventually be baked into Google's
search rankings. Twitter also has official brand pages with a few
bells and whistles, such as a customizable header image that 's
available to existing advertisers. But if you're not already
spending big money on Twitter, a brand page probably shouldn't
induce you to start.
Should I keep buying "likes"?
The marketplace is flooded with studies purporting to give the
return on investment of unique Facebook fans. While the results and
methodologies differ, the emphasis on the value of fans is the
same. The obvious reason is reach, which is why a megabrand like
Starbucks, with 28 million fans, continues to invest in Facebook
ads: to increase the constellation of "friends of fans" who can be
presumably exposed to organic messaging. But having good content on
your brand page to spur fan activation is vital to deciding whether
Facebook ads are a valid investment. If you don't, "then you're
inviting [consumers] to the party and not serving them any beer,"
said Seth Berk, chief marketing officer at the social-media agency
Big Fuel, and it's unlikely to be worth the money.
Should I build a Facebook app?
Building a Facebook app is an effective way for marketers to tap
into an actionable level of data they crave about users, like email
addresses, but that 's provided that fans are actually interested
in what's on offer. Opt-in rates are low, and the cost of app
development is high (it can be about $50,000 in the case of
sophisticated ones). So build an app that enables something your
fans actually want, whether it's sending cans of soup to sick
friends (from Heinz Soup U.K.) or seeing themselves transformed
into vampires (from "True Blood").
Another consideration is about growing user watchfulness for
privacy breaches. If you don't avoid overreaching with data
requests or if the reward of the app experience doesn't seem to
correspond to the user permissions granted, you risk putting
yourself in a watchdog's crosshairs.
How do I choose a social-media-management system or
Big Fuel has a 27-step assessment process for tools it refers to
clients, according to Mr. Berk. The ecosystem of
social-media-management systems like Buddy Media, Vitrue and
Syncapse and listening tools like Crimson Hexagon is getting more
complex. Don't assume that you should go with the biggest name or
that one size fits all. Factors such as the level of security, the
number of employees who need access, the languages to be deployed
and whether individual posts need to be approved by legal
departments will all come into play.
What should I do when smart-alecky Twitter users hijack
my campaign's hashtag? Reports of "brand-jackings" on
Twitter are on the rise, with Research In Motion and McDonald's recently
joining the victims' ranks. Common sense dictates that brands
should pause before putting themselves at the mercy of Twitter
pundits -- especially if they already have a disgruntled set of
customers (e.g., RIM) -- and also refrain from using
grandiose-sounding hashtags that invite sarcasm, like the
BlackBerry maker's #BeBold. You need a crystal ball to predict a
snarky meme will go viral, and that 's why crisis-management teams
exist. But sometimes engaging the haters doesn't help, and the best
practice is to let the fire burn out on its own.
"There's a particular point where you just need to walk away,"
said Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel.