Facebook Marketing When Your Product (Like Electricity) Is Not Inherently Viral

Like every business big or small, Facebook is one of the channels we use to get the word out about our services that help consumers make responsible decisions about their energy (particularly electricity expenses). Last year Facebook IPOd and there was a lot of noise about a few big businesses stopping Facebook advertising because "Facebook was not working" for them. Anecdotally we've also heard from smaller companies that Facebook marketing does not work.

At Power2Switch we ignore the noise and dig deeper to get the details and so we decided to do some digging of our own to see what's worked/not worked for us with Facebook. Below I'll share some data and draw some conclusions. Some of the conclusions will come as no surprise to you but it will enlighten you more than the blaring headlines that have very little substance. And for startups with next to no budget, Facebook marketing lessons with real numbers like this are hard to come by.

One foundational assumption before we dive into the data: At Power2Switch (electricity price comparison platform and interactive bill) we provide services of value. We have a few thousand customers who love us and believe in the value that we provide to them.

So what does the data say?

"Free Giveaway" announcement got the most engagement garnering 149,046 impressions (with impressions made up of content, organic sharing, likes and comments).

Pictures get the next most impressions. Team members at work and in the community and family pictures (especially babies) got another 6510 impressions

Company announcements, that share new services or products for your customers, also do well. These got us 3202 impressions.

Some conclusions here:
1. Facebook is more about brand building than direct customer acquisition.
2. Ensure that your personality as a company shines through (if family matters then show it does).
3. Give away stuff but avoid being overly promotional of your business/product.
4. When you do promote your business or product show subject matter expertise in the mix of posts/images/content that you share on your company Facebook page.
5. Monitor what people are saying about your brand and capitalize on that. In capitalizing on that do not be too robotic, you want people to anthromorphize your brand.

The core piece of advice? Be "you" on Facebook like on every other social media platform because authenticity and a good product still win at the end of the day.

NB: The methodology we chose to use is a simple one: I looked at all of our Facebook posts from the last two years (to ensure we were looking at a significant period of time), selected top performing ones (promoted and not promoted) and highlighted commonalities or trends in virality, organic sharing, likes and comments. The final step was to draw conclusions from the data and make some recommendations.