A curse on your pages: Facebook madness from Nestle and Beneful

Beneful, a Nestle subsidary which manufactures dog food, is in trouble:

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If you’re making dog food, and people start saying that your product is killing their dogs then that’s about as bad as it gets.

You may remember that Nestle provided social media consultants with one of the best, and most public examples about how to mis-manage a Facebook page with the palm oil debacle – here’s one of many blog posts which covered this. One of the key problems with this was censorship, and the deletion of posts.

How to avoid treading this road again? Address the situation head on, speak to the customers, try and gauge the scale of the problem maybe? Nope. Instead, in the face of a growing storm Beneful posts things like the following:

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or:

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While, at the same time, their Facebook page is starting to fill up with things like:

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.59.28 PM

Which gets a response something like this:

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 9.00.52 PM

It seems like Beneful are going down the same road which Nestle trod a few years ago – threaten your page fans with deletion and remain anonymous as possible; further, don’t address the issue directly.

And here’s why this is, generally, a bad move:

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.58.05 PM

Cultivating a following of ‘influencers’ works both ways – have a good product, be respectful and people will love you for it. Start disrespecting your followers, particularly by censoring posts, and you’ve not only set your Facebook page on fire, but are merrily throwing petrol onto the flames.

And here’s the impact on existing customers:

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.52.19 PM

It’s easy to criticise, but here some things I would do in this situation:

– Stop being so goddamn anonymous; use your first name when you moderate or comment; try and give people a name to which they can talk to. Anonymity makes it much easier to be offensive, and get treated the same.

– Use Facebook to acknowledge the current situation; for every hater, there’s a bunch of people who, for the time being, think your brand’s okay. Directly acknowledging the problem, sharing the facts and describing the action you are taking is the mature thing to do. Posts about skyping dogs, in the face of news articles about less than healthy hounds make it look like you’re ducking the issue. Regardless of whether the product is fine, or not, you need to be proactive with the facts – even if it is bad news. Who else can help?- can the FDA support your claims, for example, that everything is okay?

Nestle’s Digital Acceleration Team became a bit of a big deal a while ago – so why does this feel like familiar territory for Nestle?

Update: Beneful are clearly using copy and paste – they seem to spend more time informing people they are removing their posts that actually doing anything meaningful. Community management, this is not.

Thanks to the awesome Corporate Bollocks Facebook page for tipping me off about Beneful.

 

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The best Facebook analytics report (that you’re probably not using…)

Let’s take a step back, for a minute, from the usual slightly spitty excited talk about measuring social media by ‘engagement’, ‘reach’ or ‘virality’. All good stuff, to be sure, but sometimes – as a website owner, you just want to know how many visits are coming to your site from the Facebook page you lovingly maintain. It’s your bread and butter metric – it makes sense, and you know where you are with it. Chances are, most of your conversions take place on your website, that’s a good enough reason to want insight into your traffic sources.

Facebook domain insights is a great tool – among the reports it gives you are insights into visits to your website, from any link out there on Facebook. Here’s an example from a website, showing visits coming its way from Facebook:

Graph showing links clicked on from Facebook, back to a website

The number of clicks sent to a website, from links appearing in the news feed, page or profile walls. (Click for a larger view)

If you’re running a web analytics tool, you’ll can also get a similar report from your referring sites report – but what you get from insights, which you don’t get from your own website, is a report showing how many times links about your site were shared, regardless of whether they were clicked or not:

Daily shares from a Facebook page

The number of times people included a link to the website in a status message or wall post (Click for a larger view)

Ok – so where’s the insight? What’s the action I could take?
The first time I looked at the graphs above, my immediate question was ‘what’s responsible for the spikes?’. Finding out that answer will give me insights, which I can use to adjust my content strategy. Insights for domains has a ton of other useful reports, for example, it will show the success of any ‘like’ or ‘send’ buttons you have on your website.

The next question is, are the trends in the data above suggesting that the strategy that I have for Facebook is working, or not? In this instance, I can say that the prioritized purpose of my employer’s activities on Facebook is not to acquire traffic to the website  but to provide a platform for conversation with students (though, obviously, it’s nice when content is shared). However, as we increase publication of content on Facebook – and start using it to reach a larger audience we’ll definitely be using these reports to see what impact it’s having – we’ll be looking for an upwards trend. Whether this traffic does anything valuable to us, or for them, on our website is another question….

Talk to your webmaster, give them buns and get the meta tag from Facebook added to your website – enjoy.

Killer Facebook Data (That you can’t get from insights…or anywhere else for that matter)

Here’s some killer statistics from the Facebook page which I curate which fits both the ‘shock and awe’ and ‘frickin’ useful’ categories:

Between August 2011 and January 2012 friends of the page left 348 posts.
60% of these were related to making an application, or a question about our degrees
– 30% of them were practical questions about studying at Malmö
– 10% were links to events, jobs or other content

Simple take home? 90% of the posts we received in that 6 month period were about applying, splendid!

These data tell me that our page is totally supporting the current goals we have for Facebook – our strategy is to specifically focus on using Facebook for customer service and encourage prospective students to contact us via the wall.

How did we get these data? The hard way – my awesome colleague @idarosqvist went through our page with a pen and paper categorising the posts we had received. Definitely not the world’s most glamorous task but it results in some simple, easy to understand numbers which gives both insight (we’re on target with our strategy) and a set of data which allays the fears of those who worry that our page’s wall is full of random nonsense.

If you’ve got a billion friends, and a wall to match, then this probably is not for you; but if you’ve got a ‘regular’ page then taking a foray into your wall, armed with pen and paper, may give you some great insights and some awesome data to report.

(We didn’t look at comments, that would have taken too much time. The sentiment of the posts was largely positive or neutral, as tends to be the case with comments as well).

Swedish University Facebook Pages Review – Posts in January 2012.

Here’s the data for January for the Facebook activity of Swedish universities, ranked by the number of posts left on their walls. December was relatively quiet in comparison to January; some pages received more than double the number of comments in January, compared to December.  (December’s data will be presented in a review of the previous 12 months which I’ll prepare next month.) International pages are the most active, which is no surprise, given that this is the main application period. 5 university pages still do not allow posts to be left.

In January, the pages with the most posts were Malmö (112 posts) and Uppsala’s (104 posts) English Facebook pages. Uppsala experienced considerable gains from last month, with an increase in 30% in the number of posts. Lund University’s page is ranked 3rd, with 67 posts.

Malmö University

112

Uppsala University

104

Lund University

67

Linne Universitet

64

Uppsala universitet

41

Linköping Universitet

33

Lunds Universitet

21

Högskolan i Borås

21

Umeå universitet

21

Umeå University

20

Högskolan i skövde

18

KTH

17

Malmö Högskola

14

Mittuniversitetet

12

Jönköping University

11

Karlstads Universitet

9

SLU

9

Göteborg Universitet

9

Högskolan i Halmstad

8

Mälardalans Högskola

8

Chalmers University of technology

8

Högskolan Dalarna

7

BTH officiell

5

University of Borås

5

Linnaeus University, Sweden

5

Högskolan Kristianstad

4

Mid Sweden Uni

4

Karlstad University

3

Högskolan i Jönköping

2

Högskolan Väst

1

Ranking of Swedish University Facebook pages, by posts left by page friends during January 2012 (+/-5)

What’s the Value of this?
Well, that kinda of depends on you. If the aim of your Facebook activities is to build a relationship between yourself and prospective students then you’ll probably want to see lots of posts on your wall. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in profiling your university online then you may be more  interested in comments and likes – though posts will still be important – in getting a more viral effect for your content. So, only a few comments may not necessarily mean bad things (and you may well be being awesome on other channels) but it could equally be a sign that, currently, you have not given any compelling reason why people should connect with you on your wall. In a subsequent post I’ll be showing a simple way of evaluating a page, and presenting the results, to get a handle on the type of posts being left.

Facebook Page Friends – November review of Swedish university Facebook pages

 

It’s just an arbitrary threshold, but the Lund University marketing team have something to celebrate as they manage the first university Facebook page, in Sweden, to have more than 10 000 friends. In the last month they gained over 500 new friends, which pushed them up to 10 300 friends. It’s interesting that the first page to achieve this is an English language page, rather than a Swedish one. Even though the need for communication with the university is higher for international students, the number of Swedish speaking students would – you’d think – mean that the universities’ Swedish pages would be larger than they are. Something like 95% of our youngest target group (Data from Svenskarna och Internet 2011) for bachelor degrees, are using social networks in Sweden – so why their absence from these pages I wonder?

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Flickr Alamagordo

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Flickr Alamagordo

All of the universities’ Facebook pages  – regardless of which language they use – are showing a reduction in friend growth compared to last month.

This month, Göteborg Universitet, KTH, University of Borås, Malmö University and Jönköping show some of the highest percentage growths; but, in real numbers of friends, some of this growth is very small. If you’re working to get more friends, then maybe you need to revisit your strategy, or not, as the case may be (Though it’s worth repeating that the total number of friends should not be the metric you’re focusing on to measure your page’s success).

I’ll be following this post up in a few days with an analysis of the commenting frequency on these pages (altogether more relevant than just looking at numbers of friends) – I just know you can’t wait.

If your page is missing, just let me know in the comments, thanks.

Facebook Pages in English, ranked by number of friends.

University Page Friends % Growth, from last month Increase in friends, since last month
Lund University

10307

5

524

Stockholm University

5596

2

113

Umeå University

5361

3

160

Jönköping University

3501

1

62

Chalmers University of technology

3151

2

69

Stockholm school of economics

2517

1

42

Malmö University

1982

6

127

Uppsala University

1452

5

82

Karlstad University

1364

n/a

n/a

Mid Sweden Uni

817

4

38

University of Borås

533

7

36

Facebook Pages in Swedish, ranked by  number of friends.

University Page

Friends

% Growth, from last month

Increase in friends, since last month

Linköping Universitet

8823

1

128

Umeå universitet

6235

1

64

Linne Universitet

6010

1

57

Stockholm University

5596

2

113

Uppsala universitet

4772

3

121

KTH

3721

10

329

Lunds Universitet

3610

5

166

Högskolan i Borås

3487

1

11

Högskolan i Skövde

3091

1

20

SLU

3053

3

92

Karolinska Institutet

2887

4

106

Mittuniversitetet

2661

1

16

Mälardalans Högskola

2533

3

71

Högskolan i Halmstad

2291

2

41

Högskolan Väst

2268

2

45

Stockholm’s universitet

2089

3

61

Malmö Högskola

1556

2

36

Karlstads Universitet

1474

3

47

Royal Institute of Art

1118

3

32

Göteborg Universitet

772

25

152

Högskolan Dalarna

653

1

2

BTH officiell

596

2

9

Högskolan i Jönköping

530

7

33

Högskolan Kristianstad

451

2

9

New recommendation on cookie use – browser settings rather than banners

The IAB in Sweden (the trade association for the digital and interactive marketing industry) have, this month, released a set of new recommendations on how website cookies should be used. These place the emphasis on the website visitor’s browser setting to determine whether cookie will be used, and move away from the website banners that have been previously promoted as a solution.

These recommendations are a response to the Electronic Communications Act (Sweden), which is itself a response to the EU directive concerning on-line privacy. This directive requires consent from a website visitor before cookies are placed on their computer;  but – as I’ve posted previously – this breaks many important tools for ensuring a good visitor experience. Not least, it directly impacts the use of Google Analytics.

The IAB guidelines say the following:

– Cookie use, and type, should be clearly identified on the site
– Clear information should be given about what cookies do and their purpose

The awesomeness (but also what I expect will be the controversial element):

– If a user’s browser is set to accept cookies this means they have granted consent for cookies to be used (if the website clearly identifies which cookies are being used)
– If a user’s browser rejects cookies, then this must be respected

They promote the use of a standardised badge, to help users find out what cookies are used and make their own choice.

I need cookies to do my job – that is, to make the user experience better; these recommendations seem like a sensible solution for everyone. Unfortunately, I doubt that the EU will entirely agree – particularly given the apparent disagreement between EU ministers on how this directive should be enforced.

(You can see this slow car crash unfolding by checking out all my posts on the cookie directive).

What do you think? Will this work – is this an alternative to the opt-in banners which seem to be popping up?

IAB recommendations in Swedish and English.

Facebook Page Friends – Monthly review of Swedish university Facebook pages

Following on from my post below, looking at comments, here’s the ranking of Swedish university Facebook pages by numbers of friends. There’s a tendency for more growth taking place on the English language pages, which is not unsurprising, given that many Swedish universities now have opened for international applications.  On the Swedish Facebook pages, there’s a range of growth rates, with some pages looking positively stagnant. KTH is notable, with their continuation of brisk, rapid growth.

Swedish University English Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th

(percentage in brackets is the increase from last month)

Page

Number of Friends

Lund University

9783 (7%)

Stockholm University

5483 (4%)

Umeå University

5201 (4%)

Jönköping University

3439 (2%)

Chalmers University of Technology

3082 (5%)

Stockholm School of Economics

2475 (2%)

Malmö University

1855 (5%)

Uppsala University

1370 (7%)

Royal Institute of Art

1086 (2%)

Mid Sweden Uni

779 (6%)

University of Borås

497 (5%)

Swedish Universities Swedish Facebook Pages – Ranked by number of Friends on November 7th

Page

Number of Friends

Linköping Universitet

8695 (2%)

Umeå Universitet

6171 (1%)

Linne universitet

5953 (1%)

Uppsala Universitet

4651 (5%)

Högskolan i Borås

3476 (1%)

Lunds Universitet

3444 (6%)

KTH

3392 (15%)

Högskolan i Skövde

3071 (1%)

SLU

2961 (2%)

Karolinska Institutet

2781 (8%)

Mitt Universitet

2645 (2%)

Mälardalans Högskola

2462 (5%)

Högskolan i Halmstad

2250 (2%)

Högskolan Väst

2223 (2%)

Stockholms universitet

2028 (6%)

Malmö Högskola

1520 (4%)

Karlstads universitet

1427 (5%)

Högskolan Dalarna

651 (2%)

BTH

587 (2%)

                      Högskolan i jönkoping                                 497 (6%)
                      Högskolan Kristianstad                                 442 (8%)