Facebook: Buck a Dip in Facebook Page Likes

Fewer Facebook Page Likes after the Holidays

15 Retailers - FB Likes - 2010

15 Retailers - FB Likes - 2010

In previous years, some companies such as Media Logic, have observed that some brands experience a dip in the collection of Page Likes after the Holidays.   I wouldn’t be too surprised by this fact.

As you know, I’m not a big believer in discounting and unfortunately a lot of the online marketing activity around the Holidays focuses on discount promotions.  This year, many retailers have preempted the infamous Black Friday and are already heavily pushing discount promotions in offline marketing as well as in social media channels.

What I found interesting is that while some big brand retailers continue to make discount promotions the calling card for their brands and the social media  bribe for a Facebook Like, one company managed to achieve a significant growth spurt by trying something different.

The company in question is Walmart (see blue line on chart).  This surprised me and it may surprise you as well.  In my mind, Walmart is all about offering products less expensively and I clearly see the dated taxi yellow smiley face encouraging me to come in and get a great price.  One could go so far as to say, Walmart has built its brand around being cheaper than anyone else in town.

But Walmart did something different during the 2010 Holidays.  The company announced its intention to fight hunger by donating $2 billion to communities organizations by 2015. Part of the company’s social media campaign involved getting Facebook fans to help select the communities that would benefit.  Talk about a bribe with a heart! The results were pretty darn impressive.  Walmart collected over 1 million Facebook Page Likes between the November announcement and January and the Likes continued to climb through March to a whopping 10 million.

If it works, repeat it. Walmart is doing the same social media promotion this year.  Read the reasoning behind the promotion.

“Many of our Facebook fans make charitable donations and talk with each other about special needs in their communities, especially during the holidays,” said Wanda Young, senior director of social media for Walmart US. “We wanted to go where these conversations are already happening and give users the opportunity to take the next step by nominating organizations they feel are providing especially critical services.”

I’m not Walmart.  What does this have to do with my small store?

I hope you see several big social media marketing lessons.  Here are a few:

  1. It should be a giant demonstration that there are other, better ways of engaging your customers without giving away your profits through discount promotions.
  2. You don’t need to collect 1 million or 10 million Facebook Page Likes, but wouldn’t it be great to capture a couple of thousand residents in your local community and have them supporting and raving about your business?  Do you think you could pull a few hundred into your store if they liked what you were doing for your community?
  3. This story should highlight the value of preempting the traditional sales slumps BEFORE they happen and not wait until you are in the thick of one to hit the panic button.
  4. With social media marketing, you need to go where your customers are (physically as well as mentally) and partake in the conversations they are already having.
  5. If you are still sitting on the fence about creating a Facebook Page or if you’ve been ignoring your Facebook Page, maybe this story will get you to re-think your position and understand that social media will work.  You just have to make the decision to make it work.

Face it.  You’re not going to be too successful competing with the likes of Walmart , Macy’s, Target, JC Penny’s, Costco and the like through discount promotions during the Holidays.  But there are other ways you can compete and do so very effectively.

Think about what matters to you personally during the Holiday Season.  Which charities or causes you would like to support and how you might engage your customers and your businesses with such causes?

Make a decision and get engaged. Check out the Facebook Page in 10 Days to get started.

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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