Brian Carter is respected as one of the elite internet marketing experts in the world. He has 12 years of experience with Google, Twitter and Facebook marketing, both as a consultant and marketing agency director. Brian develops strategies and builds search visibility and social marketing fanbases for companies of all sizes. He is author of The Like Economy, the forthcoming LinkedIn for Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople Get Leads, Sales and Profits, and co-author of Facebook Marketing. Recently, I caught up with Brian and he answered some of the top questions B2B marketers have about their Facebook strategy.
Marketo: In a recent session you talked about obstacles and misconceptions that are blocking your Facebook results? What are the biggest obstacles to fan page success in your opinion?
Brian: Well, I think the visibility is the biggest one. I mean if Facebook admitted that pages are only reaching 16% of their fans, that’s ridiculous. You’ve got fans and if you can’t reach your fans, you’re not worth anything. That means, unfortunately, that you have to pay for promoted or sponsored posts.
Marketo: What’s your number one tip for B2B social media marketers that want to break through EdgeRank?
Brian: Number one, you have to know who your audience is. You’ve got to sit down, brainstorm ideas and then test them. You have to be like a scientist. The other thing is that you might have to get new fans because due to time decay you may never get some of your fans back. You also may not be able to beat it organically, so you’re going to have to either do promoted or sponsored posts.
Marketo: You often speak about how we are living in an attention economy. Can you explain that a little more?
Brian: Well, you can really only pay attention to one thing at a time, so you’ve got to grab peoples’ attention. It’s the ADA acronym: attention, interest, desire, action. You cannot get anybody to do something if they’re not paying attention to you. I think that the conflict for a lot of companies is that they think the only way they can grab attention is if there is something offensive. They don’t think enough about what’s going to grab attention and also be appropriate.
Marketo: Does the timeline really affect engagement?
Brian: The timeline has to some degree killed tabs, making Facebook more of a social email. You’ve got a list and when you get fans, you can reach that list the same way you get into an email inbox. The equivalent is being visible in somebody’s newsfeed. Your fans aren’t going to see every post; whether it’s from their friends or from every page they’ve ever liked because of EdgeRank. Timeline is not going to change that, there is no reason it should. The simple explanation for anybody that reads this is to think about all the pages you ever liked and how many of them you have actually gone back to.
Marketo: In your opinion, what are the essential metrics to track and measure success on Facebook?
Brian: Depends on how much your goal is, you’ve got to choose the metrics that are appropriate to the results you seek. For example, if someone’s job doesn’t focus on driving sales, then they probably don’t care about the ROI. So in these cases, the metric to track or measure could be percentage of fans reached.
Marketo: How do you find the optimal number of posts to put up per day on Facebook?
Brian: I don’t think there is a good reason to post every single day if all you’ve got are bad ideas. I think that posting the really good stuff three times a week is better than posting bad stuff. If I understand EdgeRank correctly, every time you make a bad post you potentially lose audience permanently.
People think they have to post every day; “let’s post our photos of our company going out bowling,” no, don’t, please don’t. But, InfiniGraph can go and look at the industry and say what are the best days opposed to the best times a day. It’s going to be different for every audience and if you don’t have the resources to think of all these new ideas to create new content all the time, post as often as you can.
Marketo: Can you tell me about your upcoming book “LinkedIn for Business”?
Brian: Yeah, that one is primarily for B2B. It’s for four audiences really; advertisers, people who do the advertising, people who do the marketing, and the people who sell.
We’ve got sales people and executives and it’s got chapters for each, as well as some stuff about teamwork too. This is because every B2B organization has people that get the leads and then the sales people, and there are usually issues between them and they’ve got to agree on scoring leads, scoring criteria and all of that stuff.
I think that lead scoring in particular is a great thing for them to get on the same page about because each of these teams can find out things that help the other. The guy that creates the ads can see what people respond to and don’t and can tell a sales person. Or the sales people can tell marketing they run into this problem all the time. Then the marketing person can go and create content that helps to address that sales problem by preconditioning prospects.
It’s about that whole system and then how does that work on LinkedIn and tips on advertising, tips on content marketing, etc.
For more from Brian Carter check out his blog and be sure to pick up his upcoming book, Linkedin for Business which will be available on August 19.