Portugal: Facebook and Events--The Importance of Content
Social media strategist Virgínia Coutinho has recently published “The Social Book: Tudo o que precisa de saber sobre o Facebook” (Everything you need to know about Facebook). We sat down with the specialist to try to unmask some of the best practices in the use of this network in the events industry.
How do you find the way events (music, sports, cultural, etc.) are communicated on Facebook?
Talking about events in general is very vague. I would say that the situation is very similar to what happens with companies / brands. The smaller ones, with fewer resources (both qualified human and financial), will always find it harder to better manage their Facebook presence or to manage it in a way that ensures them a higher return. Higher dimension companies will be doing it more professionally and with better quality. For example, most of the big summer festivals are known to work with agencies and the quality of page management is notorious, whether before, during or after the event.
Are there events that don't belong on Facebook? Congresses, conferences? There seems to be a certain distrust about this network... What is your opinion?
There are brands that do not belong on Facebook. For example, if their target audience does not use this social network, or if brands have much to lose with media exposure (eg, when the products or services are faulty or just really bad). With events, I would not say that there is a type of event that should not be on Facebook... The premise is the same, if the target audience uses Facebook and the brand has nothing to fear, it probably makes sense to use this social network.
It is possible to set measurable goals?
Of course it is! Imagine organizing a marketing congress and one of the objectives is to increase by 30% the number of participants from Spain. You have established a quantifiable goal and there are several ways to measure if Facebook is contributing to the fulfillment of this goal: you can check if the event notoriety increases by the number of followers from that country, or if the followers from this country increase their interest, analyzing information about website visits from Spain coming through Facebook. You can even tell how many Spanish people saw the information on Facebook and bought a ticket to the conference. In this latter case, you can create both a conversion tracking pixel and add it to your ads and a Google Analytics monotoring tool. Besides, a more rudimentary but equally effective way is to directly ask the participants how they heard about the event. Almost everything can be quantified and measured, we just have to find the most correct ways to perform this measurement.
What is the contents value?
Contents are the most important part of a Facebook page. It's what will cause someone to become a follower or not, to interact with the page or not and, ultimately, to buy that particular product or service or not - and maybe even repeat the purchase. Thus, it is important that the type of content makes sense and is based on a sound strategy, aligned with the objectives set for the page. All shared content must be relevant and somehow be associated with the brand. It is also important to regularly review and test various types of content, in order to realize what promotes greater interaction and sharing.
What features should it have?
Unfortunately there is no formula... if in most pages shorter contents work better, in others longer contents provide more interaction. If in the vast majority of pages polished quality images lead to greater interaction, in others videos have more impact. We must, therefore, test different content types with different characteristics on different topics, and publish quality (good images, with careful grammar), relevant (that interest the followers or potential followers) content aligned with the company's tone and strategy.
How regularly should contents be posted?
People ask me that question all the time, and the answer inevitably is "it depends”. For example, if I'm following a news site, I easily accept 5 posts a day, but maybe I would not tolerate that from a beauty products brand, for example.
So, only by testing and analyzing metrics such as interaction with the publications, their scope and the negative feedback will we have an idea of what the ideal number of daily publications would be. As for the minimum number, I would say that brands should post about four publications a week, always trying to realize, through their page feedback, if it will bring any advantage to place more or less publications.
Is there an ideal time of day for content sharing?
That issue is directly related to who your followers are. If you are managing the page of a festival for high school students, you will have a completely different follower profile that a marketing event for company CEOs. Although Facebook has announced that there are more Portuguese to use this social network after working hours, we can not forget that people with different profiles in different countries will use Facebook at different times of day. Furthermore, behaviours of social networking usage are different in the various seasons.
The best you can do is to check on Facebook statistics at what time the page has more online followers and test interaction by posting contents at different hours on distinct days. We should not forget to post on weekends and after regular working hours.
How important is interaction? Some brands seem to be afraid of criticism.
All trademarks on Facebook should aim to have a larger (positive) interaction with their publications, whether it's clicks on links, likes, comments or shares. Facebook has something called "News Feed Algorithm" that filters the information that users see. Thus, your page contents will only be available for less than 10% of your followers (in 2012, Facebook announced that the average was 16%, but today it is certainly lower than 10%). In 10,000 followers, less than 1,000 people will receive your content. One way to ensure that a significant number of people has access to your content and that your publications have an interesting range is to ensure that they get a lot of interaction. Furthermore, it is clear that interaction is also relevant for providing qualitative information. For example, it will help the brand to assess the type of information / products / speakers / bands / performances that meet the followers' preferences.
How important is monitoring?
Imagine that you can find, through monitoring, people who talk about topics related to your event. You can address them and possibly give them more information. Imagine that, on the event day, you are receiving feedback from participants about the coffee break quality, the bands performing or the waiting time for check-in. You immediately realise, without directly asking, what you need to improve in the next edition. Again, monitoring will make more sense for some events than others. Niche events, arranged for 50 or 100 people, will hardly have many results.
What are your views on Facebook ads?
Today they are almost inevitable... As I have been saying, the use of the Facebook platform is in fact free, but a good use of this social network is far from being so. Therefore, paid ads have been practically inescapable, whether your intention is to raise followers (if, for example, you set a popularity goal) or to make those followers have access to our content (because of the "News Feed Algorithm", previously mentioned).
Have a look into your crystal ball and tell us what comes next on Facebook. What will the next trend be?
It would be unwise to try to predict the future of Facebook... For example, for a long time I thought F-commerce would become a huge thing, but the platform hasn't been moving much in that direction. We can only wait and see.