Facebook Marketing Doesn’t Work and Here’s Why

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Since the Facebook Platform was launched in 2007, I have been included in providing Facebook apps for big brands such as CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Universal Music, Visa and more. Here’s what I got out from what doesn’t work on Facebook and what does work.

Let’s start with the fact that deep campaigns don’t really work. True story! Digital agencies love deep, expensive campaigns on Facebook, with tons of pages, interaction, and art. It perfectly fits in with how agencies build microsites and websites and justify the $100,000-plus price tag that they like to charge. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for most Facebook users so I guess that agencies and brands are just wasting a lot of cash.

Second, no one wants to spend 20 or 30 minutes on a single brand’s page, unless the Facebook user is consuming innovative, funny, or exclusive content. So a travel site looking for a long time spent on a page should not put up a treasure hunt on a world map where you invite your friends and can together find great prizes after exploring cities. Sounds good in a pitch meeting, but it results in abysmal numbers of active users.

Lots of Apps on One Tab = Don’t Work

It is easy to think of a Facebook tab like a Web page and throw a bunch of features on it. However, most users do not show up on a Facebook tab like they do on a Web page. An example would be when they are usually coming in by clicking on a page’s newsfeed posting (“What kind of traveller are you? Take the quiz!”), a friend’s newsfeed posting (“I’m a cranky traveller! What kind of traveller are you? Take the quiz?”), or a Facebook ad (“Find out what kind of traveller you are!”).

Now, if after clicking on one of these links a user is dropped into a Facebook Page tab with eight different things on it, you can’t be sure that they are not going to see a quiz immediately and move on. Most likely there should only be one engagement feature per tab.

Sweepstakes Don’t Work

Nowadays, marketers are getting smart. They have learned that sweepstakes have very low conversion rates and almost no viral uptake. Yes, that’s right. We’re also learning that they just attract unengaged users who are there for the prize rather than build a relationship with the brand.

Facebook users like to click around and look at stuff, and absolutely do not like filling out forms. I hate filling out forms. Positively, there is absolutely no incentive to make sweepstakes social.

Plus, why would you invite more people to join a sweepstake? It reduces your own chances. Simple common sense. I have never seen a “I just entered a sweepstake and you should too” posting on someone’s wall?

One attempt to increase viral spread in sweepstakes is to offer more prizes when there are more entrants, but all that does is confuse users with conflicting agendas. There is a disincentive to invite people since it reduces your chances of winning, but if enough new people join up perhaps you can win something else… “Ah, too confusing, I’m going to watch videos instead.”

Photo and Video Contests Really Don’t Work

A lot of brands still like to do photo and video contests, but unfortunately, they do not have the user base that likes to submit photos and videos. Travel and photography brands? For sure. Mobile carrier? Beverage brand? Not likely.

Uploading a photo or video is a big investment on the part of the user, and they do not expect to do it for the vast majority of businesses. However, if you’re still opting to run a photo or video Facebook campaign, the best way to do it is actually NOT in an app.

A better strategy is to have Facebook users upload the photos and videos to the brand’s page and moderate them there. After that, ask users get their friends to Like the photos or videos. This way, the campaign leverages all of Facebook’s viral channels around photos. The best thing about this is that it is easy to do for free, since using all of Facebook’s photo and video features are free, and users get to use the known Facebook photo and video interface, which increases conversions.

Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Full Epic Lead Generation work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.

His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.

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