I love Indian food. So, when I found a Groupon last week for an Indian cooking class I bought it, immediately called to book the soonest class and then texted my wife to tell her we were going. Did I mention I love Indian food?
The class (put on by Bolly Bears in Cincinnati) was amazing. The instructor (Chef Dan) was a cook in an Indian restaurant for many years and answered my barrage of questions born of twenty years of Indian food obsession. I was a happy camper.
But at the end of the night, Dan gave us a card with their Facebook Page and asked us to post something about the class. It got me thinking about whether Facebook Pages are an effective next step for customers that love your product and want to be an advocate?
You probably know your next customer
Chef Dan probably knows his next customer. It’s me. The guy who was grilling him about developing other Indian classes and then asking about his Thai classes. The guy that was proposing other dishes that he could teach me how to cook.
But by “Liking” Bolly Bears on Facebook (which I dutifully did), I will only receive 16% of the messages that he posts. Let’s caveat that by saying the 16% number is misleading because it is an average. I use Facebook less than the average user and have a larger network than the average user, so I may see one out of every ten messages that he sends. That sucks for him because I want to promote his business, it sucks for me because I don’t get informed of the latest and greatest, and it sucks for Indian food lovers in Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky who will never know the appropriate amount of asafetida powder to add to their curries.
Hubspot just published some data on email marketing statistics. Email marketers get a 25.6% open rate and a 4.4% click-through rate. Though there’s no Facebook data analogous to those – let’s conduct a thought experiment 16% is the average number of times that a message will be on my timeline, whereas 100% of emails will make it to my inbox (assuming no spam filters are in place). Assuming that interest is consistent between email and social media – of the 16% of posts that are seen on Facebook: 4% would be read and less than .5% would click-through. What’s troubling about that extrapolation is that click-through isn’t far from the truth.
Bolly Bears has an inconspicuous notebook in their front lobby asking people to sign-up for their email list. I would argue that it would serve their interests better to stick a QR Code directed to their Facebook page there and to collect email addresses at the end of each class. They can always ask for Facebook fans in an email.
Facebook’s conflicting interest with businesses
Facebook’s PageRank algorithm insures that Page content will not be seen unless the business decides to advertise on Facebook or a fan goes to the actual Page (which less than 10% ever do after their initial visit). For a business like Bolly Bears that advertise Groupon, it’s unlikely that Facebook advertising is going to be a viable part of their marketing mix (Groupon insists that businesses charge half of their regular price and then keeps half of the money, meaning businesses get paid 25% of their regular price on a Groupon). The assumption being that a product is reasonably priced to start with.
The necessity for a (non-advertising) Facebook strategy is to make it a landing page for a business. What I question about that strategy is how much control a business has to drive people to it and how much fan attention is generated when content is posted. It seems very inefficient.
When Forrester identified email as a more effective than social media to sell to previous customers, I would imagine that some of the inefficiencies of Facebook Pages contributed to their findings.
What do you think? Are Facebook Pages inefficient or are they a preferable strategy to email? What are some effective strategies to leverage advocates for a business? And who wants to come over for some chicken saag?