The biggest struggle in defining brand Facebook strategy is how difficult it is to know what will resonate with the audience and will not. There is no formula for creating viral content. So, it is the job of the content creators and ad team to determine the direction to take each day, for each post, and even down to each comment.

To compound the problem, the most powerful ads are those that serve up the activity already happening on the page. Thus, the ad team is heavily at the mercy of the content team.

The good news is that it is actually possible to determine a great deal about your audience’s interests through the graph API. By understanding your audience, you understand yourself…or rather your brand self. And from that understanding, you can create an environment primed for viral activity. Here’s how:

 

1. Know your top fans

All of your Facebook information is being stored on a server that then shows up on the User Interface of Facebook. The Graph API allows developers to access certain information on those servers. What this means to you, though, is that every user who has ever acted on your page has a place on those servers.

If you have a web team, you can create a small web application for your brand that tracks and stores those interactions. From there, it is easy to discover who your most valued fans are, what they love, and what other topics and brands they engage with in the social space.

The power of this is obvious once you have it. You have insight into what your people like, share, and do, and this regarding real human brand ambassadors. No more imagining a “target” audience. You should be able to name actual human beings, their actual likes, and what they actually want to receive from your brand.

 

2. Know your fan base’s interests

Using the ads tool, you can discover trending topics, the reach of given pages, and even age breakdowns within those interests.

Knowing how a brand’s fans overlap with the fans of other pages, and how they fare against trending topics, is a huge piece of the puzzle – one that brands are asking us for daily. Not only can you use the ads tool to discover this, but you can also see what topics may be trending among your audience that aren’t necessarily trending across the wider social web.

Below you can see how useful this information can be.  We can get much more specific, but in this case you can see that, surprisingly, there are more male fans age 56-64 of Lady Gaga than there are for Ol’ Blue Eyes.  Killer info for marketing to the near to senior market.

frank sinatra facebook fans

lady gage facebook fans

 

3. Know your top posts, and the top posts of your competition.

Knowing your own top posts is immensely important in creating viral behavior. What has worked, what hasn’t? What type of posts get the most shares vs. the most likes vs. the most comments? Content strategy is really at a loss without this, and much of it can be discovered through Facebook Insights (some Excel magic can make it a bit more actionable by giving you a view over a longer period).

top viral posts

What cannot be discovered through Insights is the top posts of your competition, and this could be crucial in building a strong social presence. If your brand has a direct competitor, that means their market is very similar to yours. What is their content strategy? What is successful for them? Which strategies overlap with yours?

If doing things manually is too cumbersome, this information is available through the graph. Not many people realize this, but as the information becomes more mainstream it is going to be the key data for the building of future social, viral, and even traditional campaigns. And, all of this can be discovered through the Graph API and with the help of a developer who’s curious enough to ask the right questions and has a little Facebook experience.

 

Conclusion

A brand is not its missions statement, its logo, or even its products or services. It is the sum total of what people who know of it believe about it. Knowing thy audience is knowing thyself. It may be easier and cheaper than you think to discover who your brand really is.

Cody Vest

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Cody Vest
Cody Vest is the creative director at Vest Advertising in Louisville, KY. A second-generation Ad Man, he bridges the gap between digital data and ad strategy building campaigns across every kind of media outlet from Facebook to broadcast TV. Cody's interests include building easy ways to get key marketing data from the open systems of the social web, and strengthening traditional campaigns with digital insights.