When we first heard about Vitrue’s new Social Page Evaluator, an application designed to help companies figure out how much their Facebook fan pages are worth, we were definitely intrigued. Sure, it was interesting to see what our own little slice of Facebook was “worth,” but it was also particularly interesting to look at some leading brands (Starbucks, $20 Million?) — and how they are “evaluated” by the app. So we reached out to Vitrue’s CEO Reggie Bradford to get an inside look at the app, some best practices and the future of Facebook.
Your new app, Social Page Evaluator, places a dollar value on a brand’s Facebook efforts. What spurred you to go down such a path?
Reggie Bradford: We saw a great void in the market, as we know marketers are clamoring for data to determine ROI for their social media efforts, and we wanted to help push this conversation and thinking forward. We clearly struck a cord, as in less than a week since the product has launched, we have seen nearly 30,000 evaluations run from 121 countries. Simply tremendous.
The Evaluator shows an actual media value, truly putting an ROI on social media efforts. It’s beneficial in many ways, especially showing people in your company that social media is important, valuable and that they should pay attention. We’ve had several marketers try out the Evaluator and thank us for finally providing a tool that actually shows an ROI, proving social media’s importance.
Tell us a little bit about how the evaluation is calculated?
We developed an application that will assign a dollar value on any page on Facebook, pending some limitations (must be publicly available, page cannot be restricted by country or age requirement). The calculations are based on more than adding up brand connections and assigning proxy values. The Evaluator takes into account the number of posts and interactions, since both directly impact the likelihood of a brand getting broadcast into newsfeeds, along with our “engagement multiplier” to determine a page’s monetary media value. The “engagement multiplier” weighs actions like comments, posts and likes from fans.
I’m particularly curious of the “potential value” you show companies on your app. These “potential” results are predicated on companies not maximizing Facebook by posting too much or not enough, posting too few photos or videos, and failing to leverage Facebook social tools, like the “share” button. Are these formulas based on real data, case-studies or best practices of successful Facebook marketers?
The majority is based on Vitrue’s own data and research. We can leverage research across our breadth of clients to extrapolate data and findings on numerous topics from best day and time of day to post to types of postings to other engagement tools. Our findings, coupled with our staff’s expertise, as well as paying close attention to the market/industry, allows us to deliver what we feel like are excellent best practice suggestions. Having said that, however, nothing is an exact science, especially with social media. We developed the Evaluator to help provide a marketer directional and quantifiable information. But increasingly marketers can and should derive their strategies based on solid data, which is what we do here at Vitrue.
What is the first thing you’d advise a company to do who is just getting started setting up their Facebook presence?
Go back to the basics: Determine why you want a Facebook page and who you want to communicate with. The basic elements of a successful communications plan/strategy apply to Facebook; it’s the tools and manner that have changed. It’s no longer a push communications world. It’s a two-way, ongoing communication avenue. So, start with the basics and build out from there. You can’t skip that first yet crucial step.
Does the Social Page Evaluator apply to small(er) businesses who might not have the time or resources to create the “suggested amount” of content on Facebook?
Absolutely, every business — big or small — has an audience or customer base. And Facebook provides a tremendous platform to communicate to your audience, albeit if you do it the correct way. In fact, we’ve found that smaller brands with smaller fan bases can be just as valuable because of their engagement elements. How often a brand posts or engages their audience depends on that brand. For example, fans of CNN expect more posts than say a local yogurt shop simply because the nature of CNN’s business — 24/7 news. But for that local yogurt shop, two posts a day is best and can be more valuable in terms of engaging and bringing that user to your store with timely placed coupons or special events.
You’ve been saying for a while that Facebook would become the “operating system” of the Internet. While Facebook’s latest moves have undoubtedly brought us closer to that reality, have they gone too far? Is it big enough to withstand a backlash?
First, I truly believe that Facebook is becoming the operating system of the Internet. But no, I don’t think they have gone too far. They definitely keep pushing their business and the social media space forward, as they should as leaders in this new communications world. This space evolves everyday and the leaders in our industry must keep looking forward. Facebook has smart folks at their helm and will continue to push to innovate, but I believe they’ll tread cautiously with their user base in mind.
What’s next for you all? Is a Twitter evaluator coming soon?
A Twitter evaluator might not be far behind (smile). We actually have a few really cool announcements coming very soon. Keep an eye on our blog.
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