With Facebook limiting the organic reach of the content that brands post (a post may reach as little as 2-3% of your community without paid support), CEO’s and CMO’s often ask us, “is it worth investing time, effort and money to build a Facebook community that you have to pay to reach anyway?” Our answer. Facebook community building is still very much worthwhile.
Below are a just few of the reasons why Facebook community building is still very valuable to brands.
There’s Comfort in Numbers
How comfortable do you feel eating at a restaurant that has 1 review? Most of us think the restaurant is either brand new or that it isn’t very good. Similarly, consumers often view the size of a brand’s community as an indication of their reputation, quality and legitimacy. Psychologically, there is comfort in numbers. So, if for no other reason than to validate the interest of potential customers, it’s worthwhile to cultivate a Facebook community.
Many brands, especially startups, lack the time and money to do deep customer research. They may know how to describe their customers in general terms but they have to guess when it comes to specific demographic, economic and behavioral information.
Having a community on Facebook allows you to use the Audience Insights tool to generate detailed information about who your customers are. For example, you can see demographic information such as age, gender, lifestyle, location, education, job role, and household information. You can also get insights into purchase behavior such as historical purchase behavior and purchase methods. For marketers, these insights are invaluable when it comes to making smart marketing choices.
Segmentation and Persona Development
Once a brand has a community that is large enough, it can move from looking at its audience in aggregate to using Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to segment its customers. For example, you can see insights for only the female portion of your audience and analyze how different they are from your male audience. You can do the same thing by age breakdown, location and a number of other segmentation criteria.
Taking segmentation information one step further, these insights can be used to create detailed personas for your main customer segments. And while hiring a ethnographic research firm can cost $80k or more, building personas with the Audience Insight tool is free.
Another reason to build a Facebook community is that it can make paid advertising more cost effective for a brand. As mentioned earlier, Facebook limits organic reach of brand content, forcing brands to use paid advertising to reach their customers. If a brand has a community, it can target only its customers who are part of its community (those most likely to purchase or take the intended action). Without a community, brands must cast a much wider net to reach customers and are often paying to reach people who don’t care at all about the brand.
Regular Dialogue with Customers
Last but certainly not least, having a Facebook community allows you to have an ongoing dialogue with your customers. This is incredibly valuable. Change is constant and all around us. Customers change, products change, brands change and competitors are always popping up. Having a strong Facebook community enables a brand to know the pulse of its customers. . . and in real time. For example, if a brand announces a new product, they don’t have to wait for sales data to trickle through months later to find out what customers are thinking. With a Facebook community, the feedback is instant. This enables a brand to make quicker and smarter business decisions, that it otherwise may be guessing at.
These are just a few of the reason why Facebook community building is still very valuable. Why do you value your Facebook community? Let us know?