On Facebook: Is Random Relevant?
See the numbers in the graphic? Those are the stats on that random Facebook wall post made by Skittles. And that’s not a fluke. Everyday, there’s an equally random and nonsensical post on the candy’s fan page and every post draws a similar number of “likes” and comments. Most companies would be thrilled to see those kinds of social media stats, but do those high numbers equal marketing success? Depends on who you ask.
AdvertisingAge contents that Facebook is going to redefine the term relevant when it comes to online marketing. In traditional terms, relevant means supplying consumers with copy that discusses the features and benefits of the product or service. Skittles taste fruity. Oreo is a quality cookie. This vacuum sucks better than that one. But those kinds of blurbs don’t spark conversation on Facebook and that’s a problem.
“We’ve long known that inserting brands into social-media channels requires a conversational touch, but many are surprised by just how conversational. . .As it turns out, many people in social networks don’t want to talk about your product, they just want to talk.”
My own very unscientific studies bear this out. A post about improvements to a fashion game I promote ends in dead silence. A post asking how many times our fans have seen the new Harry Potter movie results in a flurry of comments and “likes.”
So why not just talk nonsense all the time like Skittles? Here’s why not. Because no one knows yet whether 1,200 comments translates into sales. How many of the 17,000 Facebook users who “liked” this post actually went out and bought a bag of Skittles or recommended them to a friend? And can you see convincing your boss that writing nothing but random statements on Facebook was doing your job and doing it well?
On the other hand, we often talk about Facebook and Twitter as brand awareness tools. McDonalds doesn’t always show a burger in their commercials. They don’t have to. They just need to put the name in your ear so it comes to mind when it’s time for lunch. If half the Skittles Facebook fans pass on today’s post because they think it’s funny, that’s worth something.
What do you think? Is it possible that traditional marketing axioms don’t apply to social media? Could random be the most relevant thing you can post on your Facebook wall? We’d like to hear about your experiences one way or the other.