Simon Says: It’s Quiet Here


For the past 2 months I’ve taken on a community management role for a brand that have a community who don’t like to talk. That’s an understatement. They don’t comment, they barely click “Like” on Updates and all of this is causing me a headache.

I have a monthly meeting with the client about the brand and it’s taking a lot for me to explain to them that I am doing my job correctly.

You see, some communities are quieter than others - we all know this. Even during promotions you get less activity than you would expect. When running a giveaway we get hundreds of entries, but nothing tangible on the Wall that the client can see. So how do I put a value on these Fans?

Social media without engagement sounds pointless. But is it? I'd like to hear from anyone else who has a quite unresponsive community. But here is how I value the Fans this brand has...

The reason we (social media types) try to get Fans to engage with us when we represent a brand is to provide a feeling or memory. It’s a way of keeping the brand in the forefront of the Fans mind, so when they are out with friends they talk about the brand. As we all know, word of mouth marketing is the best form of a referral.

Come this month's meeting I produced a short report that showed their engagement levels on the face of the Page, and a “behind the scenes” report which showed the client I am doing my job & engagement takes more than one form.

Facebook's 'Insights' have a lot of holes and faults, but fortunately it does offer some interesting statistics. Because I use a lot of media (photos and videos mainly) with this brand I was able to show the number of times the Fans had viewed this content (which was quite high). The fact they didn’t want to comment or Like the content is frustrating, but it showed they care about what the brand had to say.

Additionally we have developed some Facebook Tabs with exclusive content that was getting a large number of views over the month. The community isn’t massive (around 4,000 and growing) but these tabs were getting a large percentage of that community viewing the content every month. We also installed analytics software that let us know they were viewing the content for an average of 3 mins.

The most interest (and impressive) statistic for the client to be told was that we were getting a consistent number of Mentions on a daily basis. This means people were linking their friends to the Page in comments and updates. This is not a compulsory thing for any user on Facebook to do. As a result it showed our Fans have chosen to share the Page when they didn’t have to. This has helped the organic growth of the Page.

The number of mentions, combined with the amount of views we receive on the media content led us to conclude the community is talking about the brand, off the Page. Is this any less valuable than comments on the Page’s Wall? I’d argue it could be valuable.

Facebook claims its Sponsored Stories are 46% more effective than its standard adverts. This is because the advert is only generated when you Like a Page and it only appears to your friends. Like a word of mouth recommendation. Now imagine you hadn’t had to pay for that advert.

Photo (cc) Koji Minamoto


Snowballs and measurement tools

Hi Simon. Great post - I've had experience like this (but years ago) where the community seemed to consist of 'spectators' and 'joiners' only (from the Forrester Social Technographics Ladder). Immensely frustrating, but the content was being consumed, it's just that the audience simply weren't interested in climbing up the ladder - no perceived incentive. 

Then a particular blog post started getting a lot of attention, including a slightly 'shitty' response from the organisation involved, and suddenly we had lots of new users engaging. This actively showed the community the value of interacting - that they could be opinionated and get perceived value out of being the loudmouths that they were offline. 

So now we know that a community is a snowball like SEO is - if the ball isn't moving down the hill then it can't pick up more snow or momentum, so sometimes a push is needed. I've internally debated whether that push could come from activity that's manufactured, and instinctively decided against that 'fakeness'. But it's an idea. 

When you say "We also installed analytics software that let us know they were viewing the content for an average of 3 mins" - did you use GA or something better/more designed for Facebook iFrames?

The development team put a

The development team put a snippet of GA code into the tab along with something we built in-house. Quite useful to know how long they've been on it, shame you can't include mouse-flow tracking on Facebook Tabs.

It is so annoying, much like slow replies - I am sorry for taking forever to get back to you :)

I am unconvinced the push can come from the brand. You can keep throwing poop at a wall and some of it might stick, but they have to want to get involved. For the most part you can give them something to interact with, but it will be a short burst which will have the client asking more questions about the validity of the community.

Thanks for the response!