Facebook segmentation and engagement

This week’s blog article is based upon the Hodis et al. (2015) article “Interact with me on my terms: a four segment Facebook engagement framework for marketers”.

The paper covers off some great research about why segmentation is so important for Facebook engagement and identifies four clear segments for consideration.

Facebook segmentation matrix (Hodis et al. 2015)
  • Attention seekers – users looking for admiration and appreciation (low levels of consumption and high levels of creation)
  • Entertainment chasers -people trying to escape boredom (consuming small bursts of entertaining content)
  • Devotees – addicted to Facebook users (high level of consumption and creation)
  • Connection seekers – Connecting with friends / family is their primary reason for using Facebook (High level of consumption  and low level of creation)

The essence of the article is around breaking down the audience to specific audience types, tailoring the content accordingly and then to consider using paid advertising to support your Social Media activity on Facebook. This  allows you to get much higher engagement than a fit-for-all-approach as the relevancy of the message increases and in-turn the organic reach increases (the amount of times the message is distributed).

But is this enough?

In fact, research from Sashittal et al. (2012) suggests paid targeted advertising can actually work against you to the point that really well targeted advertising on Facebook was often viewed by the audience as creepy, and the more targeted and specific the advert, the more uncomfortable the audience potentially viewed it.

Segmentation as a way to increase engagement isn’t exactly breaking news, so is there more we can add to the mix if we really want to maximise engagement?

Get your employees behind your Social Media activity

For example, empowering your business; such as your employees, volunteers and stakeholders (as well as your existing audience) to extend engagement through Social Media interaction rather than just using organic reach and Facebook paid advertising to achieve this. (If all of your staff liked and shared your posts, overall engagement would increase as a result as would the organic reach).

Here is a great article from Ryan Holmes at Fast Company on this topic which talks about the success Companies such as Starbucks, Zappos and Southwest Airlines in the US have had with their employee advocacy programs.

Either way, Social Media interaction is critical for driving engagement and maintaining an active brand presence, so getting it right and engaging with your audience becomes a high priority and by doing so, you have a real opportunity to influence your audience’s behaviour.

There are a couple of good blog articles from Deluca (2011) and Goad (2011) that note that a user’s shopping behaviour becomes increasingly influenced by their social media interactions and social media consumer to consumer communication can make a big difference in how your message is picked up by your audience.

This is supported by Li and Bernhoff in the book Groundswell, who note there has been a shift in how consumers now use technology to get from each other what they would traditionally get from corporations, and de Valck et al. (2009) extends this further noting that “word-of-mouse” is just as powerful in impacting consumer decision making as face to face influence.

Source MSL Group on Employee advocacy

So, if engagement is the key to success; empowering the people in the business to get behind your Social Media activity, encouraging them to engage with your audience and to interact with them (and each other) would certainly be a strategy worth considering.


Burgers, Coke and the Black Death

This week’s topic is viral marketing. To get your head around this subject there is a great academic paper which provides some insight in to this exciting area of Social Media Marketing.

Kaplan and Haenlein’s paper, “two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance” is an extremely thought provoking must-read.

Burger King Whopper Sacrifice Campaign

The authors work their way through the mine field of viral marketing with some great examples of campaigns that went really well (Diet Coke / Mentos and Burger King) and campaigns that just went “thud” (Jet Blue, Starbucks and Sony). The Burger King example in particular was amusing with 82,000 Facebook users sacrificing (unfriending) 234,000 of their friends to obtain a free burger. I found that inspirational.

In its simplest form, viral marketing is an explosive form of word-of-mouth marketing, whereby the audience spread the marketing message significantly quicker, and more efficiently than the advertisers could do on their own. According to Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955) word-of-mouth marketing has been shown to sustainably influence consumer attitudes and behaviour. One reason for this success in influencing the decision making process is because word-of-mouth marketing helps to reduce the decision making time and risk, as friends tend to be perceived as unbiased sources of information (Smith et al. 2007).

One point that jumps out for me about creating a viral epidemic in the social media space is so simplistic it is brilliant. To make viral marketing work, you need the right people to get the right message under the right circumstances. (Kaplan and Haenlein 2011).

Five pieces of advice when spreading a virus (Kaplan and Haenlein 2011)

The important thing to remember with viral marketing is that you can’t just sit back and expect your message to go viral, and you can’t just expect your campaign to go viral because you think it’s awesome. Social Media audiences can be very fickle. Although, you can certainly improve your chances of success if you apply a strategic element to the planning and execution of a campaign and make sure that the rest of the marketing mix and marketing communication supports the activity you are planning. In short, don’t over think it and don’t view it as a silver bullet. Not everything you do will go viral, and sometimes success requires a large amount of luck to make it happen.

The right audience means targeting the message to the segment of your audience so that it will resonate enough with them for them to want to tell anyone and everyone they know about it. To go viral, the message needs to have impact and trigger a positive (or negative) emotional response with the receiver of the message (Dobele et al. 2007) and finally, it needs to be relevant and timely.

And if you can pull it off, the dividends are huge. In the case of Diet Coke and Mentos, the viral campaign led to a five percent increase in market share with their target group, which clearly demonstrates a change in consumer behaviour.

Social Media and Consumer Behaviour

This week I had the opportunity to review the latest Sensis Social Media Report and it made for some fascinating reading. The report contains some great statistics and trends on consumer and business engagement with social media, such as, the proportion of businesses with a social media presence, what type of devices people use to access social media, which social networking platforms are being used (or not) and what level businesses are investing in their social media presence.

The report is seriously comprehensive and covers off pretty much everything happening in the social media landscape for the Australian market. Some of the sample sizes are a bit questionable with data extrapolated out from as little as 54 respondents, although there were no major surprises in the trends or the analysis around the results.

One statistic that jumped out for me though, was that among the 14% that use social media to research something that they wish to buy, 59% of that research lead to a purchase (Sensis 2016 pp. 39).

Path to purchase2

Source”: Sensis Social Media Report 2016


This got me thinking…


Traditional consumer behaviour models for the decision-making process (such as Schiffman et al. 2011) focus on the buyer’s family and friendship groups being the biggest influencers. So, how do “virtual influencers” such as Facebook friends, which you may not actually have a real world connection with, fit in to this model? And specifically, what influence can social media have on what was a well-defined model for consumer purchasing behaviour.

Using social media to research product is certainly a trend worth following. In a recent paper the author (Constantinides 2014) makes note that social media made customers more sophisticated and helped them develop new tactics in searching, evaluating, choosing and buying goods and services.

According to Bigne et al (2015), Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) information exchanges can enhance competency during the purchase experience. They go on to explain that consumers trust these exchanges more than traditional communication media because they consider this information to be reliable, nonbiased, and timely. However, in their research findings they concluded that customers are willing to share information obtained from external influences in online environments, but they do not base their purchase decisions on it, nor do they transmit it to the people with whom they have close offline bonds.

This would be a fascinating area to research further as social media continues to shape how the consumer and business interact with each other and how the decision making process is opened up to a whole new range of influences.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑