Facebook fan pages vs (forthcoming) Google+ pages for business: lessons learned and tips

Facebook fan pages vs (forthcoming) Google+ pages for business: lessons learned and tips

While waiting for Google+ business pages (and not only) to be officially open (after they let some brands get in, then blocked them, then re-opened again), I thought it was good to have a look at what happened with Facebook’s most famous fan pages.Especially since we all know this “social networks battle” is not just about social networks.

Also, after Facebook announced that some brands will have a dedicated offering to their fans, based on fans’ Klout scores, I thought it was good to have a look at klout scores too. I actually found something very interesting.

I started my analysis by finding the top 10 brands in a specific sector (I focused my attention on food and beverage) and started with gathering information about their Facebook fans, their twitter followers and their Klout score, since it seems these are the most used reference “numbers”. Interesting enough, while some Facebook fan pages gather over 10M fans, the relevance of their twitter followers and their Klout score seems totally not correlated.

After investigating on how they moved their social media steps, I found every brand has its own strategy and, while some of them have a complete integration between mobile apps, twitter and Facebook page (like, for example Starbucks does), some others stay definitely more simple.

But for a couple of them, the story on how their Facebook presence was created is really awesome: the Coca-Cola Facebook page was, in fact, created by 2 Coca-Cola fans from Los Angeles, who just went viral and got to page having over 3M fans in 2009. At that time, in 2009, they were contacted by Coca-Cola, who asked them to keep taking care of their page. And today, Coca-Cola ranks first in the top 10 brands on Facebook. Surely Coca-Cola had a very intelligent use of RFID – and not in their supply chain!- and a good partnership with Facebook. In fact, their Coca-Cola village 2010 experiment helped them gathering more fans. And Coca-Cola was the first to experiment RFID-enabled Likes for their page.

Definitely a great example of using the page for actually listening to the fans and spotting the best technology to get more visibility. They are also very active on their twitter, though their activity seems pretty much interacting directly with their followers. Good to have them feeling close to the brand.

Another fan page-  amongst the top 10 – created by a fan is the Nutella Facebook page. And interesting enough, the Nutella page is one of the most simple pages too! (I love the world map on the Facebook Info page, done with bread and Nutella, by the way).

So if your brand finds that you have a good number of fans on an unofficial page, think twice before asking Facebook to close that page (which is in your rights), especially if fans are well engaged and if the creators of that page give your brand a good reputation. Also, you may actually be saving some good $$.

Another interesting thing I found about the top ten pages, as anticipated at the beginning of this post, is that not all have a twitter presence (having worked mainly in Italy and only for a few months in the US, I am not really surprised the 2 products, both owned by an Italian brand, don’t also use twitter): I am referring to Ferrero Rocher and Nutella.

That’s not all. I found something even more interesting from this analysis. I am sure you all would think those pages with the majority of online interactions, integration of apps and twitter and with the most effective marketing on social media would translate – if not in an immediate revenue- at least in more visits on your corporate website, where maybe your talks can be more direct and more focusing on increasing your revenues. Wrong! Those pages with less interactions and links are those actually getting more traffic on their website  – at least according to compete – which tells you how your competitors are performing online. Data show website traffic trends for Ferrero (owner of both Nutella and Ferrero Rocher) and Coca-Cola for the past 12 months or so.

Ferrero’s website traffic increase seems more evident than Coca-Cola’s

What shall then brands do on Google+ to have winning strategies?

Surely, keep building brand reputation, increasing your clients and fans experience, letting them really interacting with the brand. Maybe suggesting contests and making your business page your hub for all your country-based marketing initiatives- If you are doing this on G+, you may likely be able to use google maps to point your audience to dedicated events (taking inspiration from the food trucks of famous New York restaurants), or use Circles to create dedicated messaging on upcoming events, promotions, and roadshows, or even use hangouts and let your fans use their own creativity to keep the ball rolling.

Facebook fan pages vs Google+ business pages:

Another good point to keep in mind is the different words used by the two companies to call their “branded” pages. Facebook, which is somehow more of a “vox populi” creation, and as Zuckerberg has pointed out, it’s all about leaving people a chance to create that 95% they want to add to what they give them, as reported in this article.Business pages on Facebook are called fan pages, and this sounds so nice and customer centric.

Google+ calls these pages “pages for business”.

Whatever you will do on G+, don’t forget to listen to what they have to tell you first. They may give you the right input to start your campaign.


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