Today we are introducing a new blog post segment, which rates Facebook brand pages in four areas: Branding, content, engagement, and advocacy. We will cover how the brand is doing in each of these topics, what the brand is doing correctly that is leading to their success, and what they could do to improve. The goal is to provide an outline of best practices, insights and suggestions, and share actionable improvements that you could implement in your own Facebook pages!
I'd like to start off with a personal favorite of mine, that tall drink of good cheer, Cheerwine. For those who are unfamiliar, Cheerwine is a regional cherry soda from Salisbury, N.C, which initiated a national campaign in early 2011 to expand its market to all 50 states.
- Strengths- As a new visitor, you are immediately taken to their default landing page, which combines a call to action to "like" their page, an attractive graphic raising awareness for their current sweepstakes, and a few recommendations for added social proof. The page's default photo also features the Cheerwine logo, a large arrow drawing attention to the sometimes overlooked pages below, and the current "Miss Cheerwine."
- Weaknesses- Though Cheerwine's Facebook page has strong branding, there's always room for improvement. Cheerwine isn't using their page banner effectively, simply leaving the latest wall photos on display, and therefore missing out on a prominent opportunity for branding. Likewise, Cheerwine is still using the old Facebook profile, having not yet switched to Facebook Timeline for Brands. When they do make the switch, they must ensure that they make better use of their cover photo than their page banner photos. Also note that landing pages are going away with Timeline for Brands.
- Strengths- Content is posted consistently each day, but not so often that fans are overwhelmed. Content is fairly varied, with a shout-out to a local band, calls to action for the Miss Cheerwine competition, an invitation to check out pictures from the Miss Cheerwine competition posted on Instagram, and an article that features Cheerwine as a top regional soda all being shared recently on the page.
- Weaknesses- The vast majority of the content posted seems to be around their Miss Cheerwine competition. While it is a good idea to frequently remind your fans of any ongoing sweepstakes or competitions, and to share content curated as a result (such as pictures), you should still vary your content, or risk losing the interest of your community.
Also, the Instagram invitation mentioned above features a link once again to the registration page for the Miss Cheerwine competition, not to the photos on instagram. This could be considered misleading, which has the potential to disappoint or even anger fans.
This is also in violation of an important best practice. If you're going to share a call to action, be sure to make that action as simple as possible, taking only one more step (such as clicking a link or liking a status) if possible. Otherwise, your call to action isn't likely to create any significant reaction.
- Strengths- Cheerwine's overall health score (talking about/total fans) is 1.7%. A Facebook page is considered healthy when it scores between 1% - 5%, so while this brand is within the range of a healthy page, it's on the low end of the spectrum. Cheerwine reaches out to their fans often and responds to most comments posted on their own status updates.
- Weaknesses- Cheerwine lacks consistency in responding to comments and wall posts from fans, often completely ignoring wall posts. While their national campaign focuses on telling stories about the "legend" of Cheerwine, their Facebook content doesn't really match up with that. Focusing less on competitions, sweepstakes, and advocacy and more on engagement could really help boost the value of the page and help get fans involved.
This is yet another instance where the new Facebook Timeline for Brands makes sense, as the primary focus is now telling stories. Cheerwine has some great stories, and having been owned by the same family for almost 100 years, there is a lot of history that could be shared through the new Timeline.
- Strengths- This is Cheerwine's bread and butter when it comes to their Facebook community. Through their Cheerwine Campus Czar program, which seeks to identify advocates at major universities, the Miss Cheerwine competition, which establishes a young, attractive representative of the brand, a sub-page that showcases North Carolina restaurants that serve Cheerwine as "Local Flavor Legends," and a free iPhone app which helps you find Cheerwine and connect with the Facebook page
- Weaknesses- Cheerwine pushes their advocacy efforts a little too often, weakening other page efforts and by constantly repeating themselves, they risk sounding like white noise to their fans more than anything else. Though the advocacy efforts do a lot to help build advocates for the overall brand, they seem to do little for creating an actual Facebook community, or identifying advocates in the Facebook community. The "Campus Czar" advocacy program in particular has been buried under the flurry of posts focusing on the Miss Cheerwine competition. A landing page for the Campus Czar program could have prevented this. Going forward with Facebook Timeline for Brands, it would be wise to highlight the Campus Czar program in Cheerwine's Timeline.
A quick look at the Cheerwine Facebook page displays a clear and consistent branding effort, coupled by a laser focus on advocacy for their brand. While at first glance this seems great, a review of their engagement and interactions shows a page that is not as healthy as it could be. While Cheerwine has excelled at advocacy, they have done so at the cost of their content and engagement.
Cheerwine could also look at increasing their engagement by simply taking the time to respond to each wall post and comment left by their fans. While this becomes a difficult prospect with a larger community, the Cheerwine Facebook page is still young, and this would take a minimal effort on their part at the page's current size.
Key takeaways that apply to any brand:
- While sweepstakes and advocacy are incredibly important aspects of creating an actual community on your Facebook page, your brand should not focus on them to the extent that you sacrifice your content, and thus your engagement.
- Don't see Facebook as just another marketing platform, be sure to take the time to listen to and speak with your fans.
- Basing your strategy on drawing resources from your Facebook page away to the overall brand isn't sustainable, as you must also build your community and foster engagement, so that you continue to have fresh advocates and other social resources emerging from your page.
- Do not lose sight of the fact that conversations are key, and that without them, you are losing out on insights and feedback from your community that are without a doubt valuable to your brand!